Full citation

Landry, R., Amara, N., and Ouimet, M. (2007). Determinants of Knowledge Transfer: Evidence from Canadian University Researchers in Natural Sciences and Engineering. Journal of Technology Transfer, 32, 561-592.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: Survey of 1,554 researchers funded by NSERC in Canada to assess level of knowledge transfer among scientists and engineers. The findings show that researchers are more active when the transfer does not involve intellectual property and is not tied to commercialization. However, the activity may provide a signal to external partners about a researcher with potential value as a collaborator.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Federal lab, University

Knowledge user(s) to whom the piece of literature may be relevant: Policy Makers, Researchers

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Individual

This article uses the Commercial Devices and Services version of the NtK Model

Primary Findings

Carrier: Determinants of Level of Knowledge Transfer — Two determinants were common across six science/engineering fields studied: 1) Established linkages between researchers and research users provided audiences as targets for communication; 2) Focusing the research study on established user needs, ensured that the findings were relevant to that audience.
Survey of 1,554 researchers funded by NSERC in Canada to assess level of knowledge transfer among scientists and engineers.
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2

Measure: Considering the return on investment in university-based research activity — 2003 data shows an investment in Canadian university research of $7.5 billion, generated monetary returns of $19.1 million — two tenths of one percent. We hypothesize that the indicators used to calculate the return do not capture the value of knowledge spillovers resulting from external access to research knowledge by people in corporations, government agencies and other non-academic organizations.
Survey of 1,554 researchers funded by NSERC in Canada to assess level of knowledge transfer among scientists and engineers.
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3

Model: Conceptual Model of Technology Transfer — Resources enabling a researcher to engage in knowledge transfer include the attributes of the knowledge itself, sources of funding, organizational assets such as institutions size and professional obligations, relational linkages with non-academic users; and personal experience of the investigator. These can be combined into a conceptual framework for transfer as shown in Figure 1 page 565.
Survey of 1,554 researchers funded by NSERC in Canada to assess level of knowledge transfer among scientists and engineers.
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3

Methods:

  • Activities of Knowledge Transfer — The literature suggests that the transfer of research results can take seven different forms: 1) Transmission; 2) Presentation; 3) Participating in work groups; 4) Consulting; 5) Contributing to development of products or services; 6) Involvement in business activities; 7) Commercialization.
    Survey of 1,554 researchers funded by NSERC in Canada to assess level of knowledge transfer among scientists and engineers.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3
  • Knowledge Transfer by Researchers — Researchers are more active in transfer prior to the creation of intellectual property, and independent of commercial applications, when there are obviously fewer constraints on their ability to communicate externally. Evidence of knowledge transfer increased as the number of publications increased, suggesting that translation activities did not hamper their scholarly productivity.
    Survey of 1,554 researchers funded by NSERC in Canada to assess level of knowledge transfer among scientists and engineers.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2

Tip: Non-commercial knowledge transfer — Given the frequency of non-commercial knowledge transfer, more attention should be paid to this type of communication. Technology transfer offices could revise their mandates to encourage the sharing and promotion of non-commercial knowledge, as it could signal external partners about research expertise relevant to their own proprietary commercial activities.
Survey of 1,554 researchers funded by NSERC in Canada to assess level of knowledge transfer among scientists and engineers.
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 1

Secondary Findings

Method: Knott and Wildavsky created a scale conceptualizing knowledge transfer as s series of activities supporting the decision-making process. They suggest that knowledge use must be examined at various stages, where each is a link in a chain of knowledge use. (Knott, J & Wildavsky, A [1980]. If dissemination is the solution, what is the problem? Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization, 1 [4], 537-578.)
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3