Laura Kreling defends her PhD thesis

Laura Kreiling will defend her PhD thesis entitled: “Intermediaries in Innovation Ecosystems – Delineating Practices and Context of European Knowledge Transfer Organisations“. The defense will take place on Wednesday, 11 March 2020 at 14h00 in the auditorium “Gaudemet”.

Composition of the jury
Pascal Corbel, Université Paris-Saclay (RITM) – President
Jakob Edler, Fraunhofer Institute (ISI), University of Manchester (MIoIR) – Rapporteur
Catherine Thomas, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (GREDEG) – Rapporteur
Raffaele Trapasso, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – Examiner
Ahmed Bounfour, Université Paris-Saclay, (RITM) – PhD supervisor

Summary of the thesis
This thesis research is on intermediary organisations for the transfer of knowledge and technology from academia to industry in innovation ecosystems. Managerial practices and regional context of European Knowledge Transfer Organisations (KTOs) are investigated to enrich the understanding of their managerial determinants. A systemic approach is adopted resulting in research on multiple analytical levels. Consequently, the empirical part of this thesis consists of three studies. The first analyses the influence of actors in the regional innovation system. Based on interviews at French regional KTOs and stakeholder theory, a theoretical model on their value creation ambidexterity is created and seven regional stakeholders identified, as well as six organisational roles which are adopted in response to the regional context. The second study is on internal managerial practices and investigates their maturity in relation to other KTO performance dimensions using dynamic capabilities and contingency theory. It results in the development and initial use of a holistic practice-based maturity model for KTO performance management. Initial data from 17 European KTOs shows that maturity is highest in the area of ‘translation & combination’ practices and lowest for ‘knowledge management’. The third study uses reference group and benchmarking theory to develop a clustering approach for the comparison of similar European KTOs based on existing activity metrics. A framework is proposed based on which transnational European peer groups are created with a clustering approach. Variables related to the internal knowledge transfer culture primarily drove cluster creation, followed by the external ecosystem and KTO budget. In conclusion, the research findings shed light on emerging topics in the university-industry knowledge transfer literature, particularly on the existence and influence of regional stakeholders, the role of capabilities and practices in performance management and the ability to not only create transnational groups for benchmarking and bench-learning but also visibility on the variables that drive cluster creation. This has managerial and policy implications as well as provides fertile ground for future research on management at the intersection of academia and industry.

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