Manuel González-López, PhD, Lecturer and Researcher of Economics, ICEDE Research Group, University of Santago de Compostela, Department of Applied Economics, 15782 Santago de Compostela, Spain, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Ivano Dileo, PhD Lecturer in Economics, University of Bari, Department of Politcal Science, University of Bari, 70121 Bari, Italy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Francesco Losurdo, Professor of Economics, University of Bari, Department of Politcal Science, University of Bari, 70121 Bari, Italy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Universites are one of the key actors within natonal and regional innovaton systems. The nature of university-industry collaboraton has changed during the last decades and it varies across countries and regions. Different factors determine the interacton among both organizatons, from those related to the industrial structure of the territory to others related to insttutonal and legal frameworks. In this paper we aim at adding to the understanding of this process based on the comparison between two European regions, Apulia in Italy and Galicia in Spain. Our results show that a progressive transiton from a separated to a more integrated approach has occurred at the relatonal framework affectng universites and industry in both regions. Public policies, partcularly from the regional level, have been relevant for promotng university-industry collaboraton in Galicia and Apulia. Nevertheless, there stll remain cultural and insttutonal barriers, both from the academy and business sphere, which impede a closer and more fruitul interacton. Besides, the poor innovatve culture of traditonal industries which dominate in both regions, might affect university-industry interacton. However, an adjustment of the university offer in terms of research is also needed as we observe that collaboraton is too much biased by the university scientfc and departmental specializaton and too litle by local and regional industrial specializaton.


Experience demonstrates that a mutual integraton between university and industry can foster the development of the communites in which both are operatng (Camagni, Maillat and Mateaccioli, 2004). Moreover, important changes have happened in the ratonale of university-industry relatonship during the last decades (Gibbons et al., 1994; Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 2000). In general terms a tendency towards a closer interacton among universites and companies has been observed, a trend that has changed rules and behaviors at both organizatons. Nevertheless, such process is far from being auniversal and barrier-free trend as economic, cultural and insttutonal factors may hinder or foster it. In many countries and regions, science remains an open system, governed by rules and practce set by the scientsts themselves. Conversely, industrial research is likely to be specifc in orientaton and frms are focused on creatng private and valuable knowledge that can be used to set-up process and produce goods. Although both university and industry have mutual interest in knowledge and research abilites formaton and in technology transfer as well, they sometmes operate separately and follow different ways. The nature of university-industry collaboraton varies also across countries and regions because of different factors, from those related to the industrial structure of the territory to others related to insttutons and legal frameworks.

In this paper we look at two experiences of university-industry cooperaton at the regional level. For this goal we have chosen Apulia in Italy and Galicia in Spain. They are both NUTS II European regions, characterized by a similar research infrastructure focused on public universites, with a leader one (Bari in Apulia and Santago de Compostela in Galicia), as well as an industry largely formed by SMEs based on traditonal manufacturing. We aim at adding to the understanding of how insttutonal and productve specifcites shape the collaboraton between university and industry. In partcular, we will try to answer the following questons:

  1. to what extent universites in Apulia and Galicia have moved towards a more integrated model of interacton with industry and,
  2. how the insttutonal set-up and the productve specifcites of each region shape the relatonship between universites and industry?

The paper goes as follows. First, we briefly discuss the literature about university and industry collaboraton as well as its role in regional development. In the second and third secton we present the major features of universityindustry collaboraton in Galicia and Apulia region respectvely. We focus on the insttutonal and legal framework affectng interactons among both organizatons as well as on the partcularites of regional innovaton and industrial structure. In the last part of both cases we present some recent evidence about the different channels of interacton among universites and industries.

We end with a conclusion part where we try to extract the main lessons about the comparison of the Galicia and Apulia cases.


University transiton from “mode 1” to “mode 2” of knowledge producton and the determinants of university-industry relatonship

The university-industry relatonship has been largely discussed by the literature on industry and innovaton during the last decades. Such relatonship is considered of high relevance for local and regional development as knowledge has been increasingly pointed out as a key factor for economic progress (Boucher, Conway and Van Der Meer, 2003; Gunasekara, 2006; Uybarra, 2010). Several studies have pointed out the basic role of the knowledge infrastructure for creatng structural interdependencies with the industry (Alavi and Leidner, 2001; Basant, 2002; Bathelt, Malmberg and Maskell, 2004). In this sense, there is a growing awareness of the importance that university can undertake, especially at regional level (Fini, Grimaldi, Santoni and Sobrero, 2011).

Agreeing with Carlsson (1997) and Carlsson, Jacobsson, Holmèn and Richne (2002), this can include the generaton of applied scientfc knowledge that can be used by local high-tech industry atractng knowledge based frms to relocate into regional system (Castells and Hall, 1994) and create additonal employment opportunites within the local labour market (Acs and Audretsch, 2003).

The impact of university-industry interactons on regional development became even more important since higher educaton insttutons moved from a traditonal role, focused on basic research and training, to a new role more involved in innovaton and productve tasks. Such change has been well described by Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (2000), among others, referring to the new role of universites as one inserted in a “Triple Helix Mode” of innovaton. In such a model, universites will be one blade, together with frms and governments, for the development and use of new knowledge in the economy and so for promotng competveness and economic progress. Under this view new functons of universites are emphasised such as technology transfer, spin-off creaton, patent licensing, etc.. More recent contributons have somehow renewed the “triple helix” idea pointng to the existence of a “quadruple” and even “quintuple” helix innovaton model (Carayannis and Campbell, 2011). Thus the quadruple helix mode will incorporate media, culture and the civil society perspectve into the process of knowledge creaton and innovaton whilst the quintuple mode will do the same with the natural environments of society.

According to Gibbons et al. (1994) the growth and spread of higher educaton afer the Second World War was hand to hand with a change in the view of university roles in society. It would begin with a world where universites were the ones providing basic knowledge (from basic science) to large-scale industry, relying upon a linear model of innovaton where both actors were clearly separated and showed completely different ratonality. a second phase, beginning in the late 60s, will emphasise the role of applied science and knowledge produced by universites and so its disseminaton and applicatons. The importance of linking higher educaton insttutons and the productve systems, despite belonging to two different spheres, increased. a third stage will emphasize even more the role of technological innovaton for compettveness and so the removing of barriers and botlenecks between the scientfc enterprise and industrial innovatons. Finally, since the 90s, industrial policy, science and technology policy and regional policy converged towards a common innovaton policy. In this context, universites entered the scenario as major players for the creaton of a knowledge-based economy. Higher educaton insttutons created and partcipated in science and research parks, cooperatve research centres and consorta with industry, business incubators, etc.

The new and fashionable concept is the “entrepreneurial university” (EDU, 2007). Gibbons et al. (1994) describes such transiton of universites from a “Mode 1” of knowledge producton, which is governed by the academic community and its rules, to a “Mode 2” of knowledge producton restng on a bidirectonal connecton between academy and society in which the boundaries between the two worlds are blurring.

Transiton from “Mode 1” to “Mode 2” is narrowly linked to the partcipaton of universites as actors in the “triple-helix” model, partcularly within regional innovaton systems. The innovaton system approach views innovaton as a collectve process where regional innovaton emerges from localized and insttutonal supported networks.

Such a “regionalizaton” of the phenomenon of innovaton explains also the trend towards regionalizaton of S&T policy and governance. Universites, together with frms and regional governments would hence be key actors with the regional networks of creatng, disseminatng and using knowledge for economic purposes and so they will shape the evoluton of the regional economies.

Regional innovaton systems can be both viewed from a top-down and a botom-up perspectve (Howells, 1999). From a botom-up perspectve, the concept of regional innovaton system links to the economic geography literature where proximity and networking are determinant factors for explaining local and regional development. In this sense, universites might take part (or not) of industrial clusters as part of the networks partcipatng in knowledge producton and diffusion and for the creaton of spill-over effects.

Such localized clusters, not necessarily uni-sectorial, would follow a trajectory and will be also narrowly shaped by social, cultural and insttutonal factors

In this case, the term “region” rests mainly on a geographical dimension as sometmes such clusters can be localized in border spaces of two different countries.

On the other hand, from a top-down perspectve regional innovaton systems will be conceived similarly to natonal innovaton systems, so their delimitaton will rest on the regional governance structure (formal insttutonal specifcites), as well as on productve issues referring to industrial specializaton and core/periphery differences.

According to this view, we can argue that the role of universites in innovaton systems will be frstly determined by existng regional regulatons affectng higher educaton, secondly, by the industrial specializaton profle of the region. The defniton of “region” from this perspectve refers largely to a historical or administratve space, i.e. formal insttutons like governments and legal frameworks are relevant. In this paper, considering the nature of the two regions compared, we will take this last perspectve (top-down).

The changing role of universites in regional development that has been observed in many countries is shaped from our viewpoint by two different factors. First of all, the specifcites of the insttutonal set-up where universites are embedded are relevant, as transiton from mode-1 to mode-2 might be burdened by insttutonal resistance. In many cases a change in the insttutonal set-up and legal framework affectng universites will be needed in order to adopt new roles. At the same tme, legal frameworks and their modifcatons are embedded in natonal and regional insttutonal realites that differ from one territory, even from one university, to another. Therefore, in order to understand the impact of university-industry relatonships on regional development we must analyze such insttutonal and legal framework in depth.

Second, the specifcites of the regional industrial structure, as not all sectors present a similar propensity to use university knowledge, also mater (Gonzalez, 2000).

Industries and sectors differ in their innovatve character or in the type of knowledge used. Isaksen and Karlsen (2010) point out that the role of universites for regional development is determined by the dominant mode of innovaton of the regional industry, distnguishing between DUI (doing, using and interactng) and STI (science, technology and innovaton)2. When comparing the case of two Norwegian universites, Tromso and Agder, they conclude that the dominant mode of innovaton in a regional industry makes a difference to the role universites can play in stmulatng the development of the industry. For instance, cooperaton is more easily found if STI dominates in the regional industry than if DUI dominates. Such results nevertheless contrast with the view raised by Lundvall (2006) when he points out that: in the current period where protecton of codifed knowledge has become a major concern of rims that are world leaders in advanced technology this might not be the case. The STI-mode resultng in disembodied codifed knowledge may actually result in more restrictve access than the DUI-mode where the fnal product is a new system or product with embodied but unprotected knowledge (p. 22).


University-industry collaboraton and the insttutonal framework in galicia

There are three universites in Galicia, the centenary University of Santago de Compostela (USC) established in 1492 and the Universites of Vigo (UVIGO) and a Coruña (UDC), which were created in 1990 as a disaggregaton of the University of Santago. The USC is the largest of the three insttutons both in terms of number of students and personnel as well as regarding the number of departments and research groups. In regard with the main research areas, there is a certain complementarity among the three universites although some overlapping is also found partcularly in the feld of social sciences. The USC shows a strong specializaton in health sciences and also in classical disciplines from different felds (Law, Economics, Philosophy, Languages, Biology, Chemistry, etc). The UVIGO is the one with more focus on technology and industrial engineering whilst the UDC major distnctveness refers to Architecture and Civil Engineering and Computer studies.

There are two key milestones referred to insttutonal changes that are relevant for the evoluton of the relatonship between university and industry in Galicia. The frst one refers to the approval of two laws at the natonal level. The frst one is the law for the University Reform approved in 1983, which regulated the collaboraton between the academic staff and companies through contracts and collaboratons agreements. Secondly, the Law for the promoton and general coordinaton of scientfc and technical research, published in 1986. This law includes the objectves of promotng the knowledge and technology transfer from universites to the productve system and creates the conditons for the set-up of ofces in charge of such functon (TTOs) in most universites. As a result, and supported by the Natonal Plan of R&D, the number of TTOs at universites strongly increased in a short period of tme reaching 40 1992. In Galicia, each of the three universites established their ofce in 1991. According to Rubiralta (2007), since year 2000 an evoluton of the TTOs has been observed as they increasingly adopt a rather complex structure and more functons. This author considers this trend as a common one for many European universites in such a way that apart from the traditonal functon, some others can be identfed such as patents management, technology-based companies promoton, entrepreneurship promoton, Spin-offs management and promoton, capital-risk functons, technological incubators set-up and partcipaton in technological and scientfc parks.

Table 1. Galician Universites (2012)
 Students/Scientfc StaffDepartments/Research GroupsMain Research Areas
USC 30.159/2.094 75/355 Health Sciences
Natural Sciences
Social Sciences
UVIGO 22.103/1.472 47/252 Technology and Industrial
Social Sciences
Natural Sciences
UDC 22.819/1.448 43/126 Social Sciences
Architecture and Civil
Ship-building Engineering

The second key insttutonal milestone refers to the regional (Galician) level and partcularly to the publicaton of the Law for the promoton of research and technological development in 1993 as well as the subsequent frst Galician Plan for research and technological development in 1999. The delay in the launching of the plan reflects the difcultes to establish a coherent and integral strategy for R&D in the region. In fact, as pointed by Conde-Pumpido (2007), the frst measures to artculate the Galician innovaton system and the relatonship between universites and frms were only included at the second Plan (2002-2005). According to the previous author the regional policies implemented during the 90s rested on the separaton between the scientfc and technological spheres, with the public R&D system as dominant actor; whilst in the second RTD Plan (Conde-Pumpido, 2007) an evoluton towards a rather technological and entrepreneurial model was observed (p. 80). As a consequence the collaboraton between universites and industry increased at their different forms.

The plan supported the TTOs of the universites as well as different structures to promote the commercializaton of research results or the establishment of technology-based companies. Many of the investments of the related infrastructure were fnanced by EU funds.

Apart from the legal development indicated above there are other landmarks that determined the relatonship between universites and industries in Galicia. One of them refers to the establishment of the Galician University-Firms Foundaton in 1982 that join together the main regional frms and the University of Santago de Compostela (the only existng at that tme) to promote the collaboraton between universites and industry. Its actvites were largely focused on supportng the incorporaton of graduates in Galician companies as well as research and consultancy contracts between research groups and frms. Another important issue refers to several initatves taken by the University of Santago de Compostela at the end of the 90s and beginning of the 2000s.

One of them was the establishment of the frst university spin-off incubator in Galicia, UNINOVA, in collaboraton with the local authorites. The other was the setng up of UNIRISCO, a venture capital society aimed at providing fnancial support to universites spin-offs, which was created in collaboraton with relevant Galician companies and fnancial insttutons, and that later incorporated also the Universites of Vigo and a Coruña.

Regional innovaton and industrial specializaton of Galicia

Galicia shows a moderate-low innovatve profle in the European context (EU, 2014).

During the 90s and the frst decade of the current century, R&D expenditure on GDP contnuously increased its share on GDP reaching 1% in 2008, when the crisis broke out. Since then there has been a slight decrease in this indicator and at the moment it is lower than half of the EU-27 average. Differences with the EU are even larger when dealing with Business R&D expenditure, which is approximately half of total R&D expenditure. Finally, patent actvity is even lower than the previous indicators as the average patent applicaton to EPO per million inhabitants was around 12 per year between 2006 and 2010, ten tmes lower than the EU average. The innovatve performance is closely linked to productve specializaton and, as we will see below with more detail, Galician economy shows a relatvely low presence of high-tech sectors.

Table 2. Main innovaton indicators of Galicia and EU-27
Populaton (2013) 2.761.989 501.403.599
GDPpc (PPS) (2011) 21.800 € 24.600 €
Unemployment Rate (2012) 20.5 10.4
R&D Exp/GDP (2011) 0.94 2.01
Business R&D Exp/GDP (2011) 0.46 1.24
Patent Applicatons to EPO per million inh (Aver. 2006- 2010) 11.94 111.56
High-Tech Sectors (% Total Employment) (2011)* 5.7 10
* High-Tech Manufacturing + High-Tech Knowledge intensive services
Source: Eurostat data.

The Galician economy could be included within the group of late industrialised and peripheral European regions as it remained dominated by primary sectors untl the 70s and manufacturing boomed only during the second half of the last century. Nowadays the peripheral character of European regions shows a rather different profle than the one it used to show. As pointed by Vence-Deza and González-López (2008), the peripheral character of European regions is now shown by a stronger presence of lowtech manufacturing industries and traditonal or non-knowledge intensive services.

This is also the picture on the Galician industrial structure in comparison with the EU-27 and, to a less extent, with the Spanish one. Thus, the Galician manufacturing sector is dominated by food producton, with a long traditon on seafood producton, textles and wearing apparel where successful companies like Inditex (Zara) became large MNEs, wood and derivates and non-metallic mineral products. Together with the previous branches, the manufacturing of vehicles and ships represent the core of the Galician manufacturing specializaton. High-tech manufacturing like computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, machinery and equipment or chemical and pharmaceutcal products are poorly present in the Galicia economy. Regarding services actvites, the presence of knowledge intensive services is comparatvely low in Galicia , partcularly when dealing with knowledge intensive business services like R&D actvites, computer and related actvites or telecommunicaton. According to Gonzalez-López (2009) in a study made for the Spanish case, such services are usually concentrated at capital and metropolitan regions from which they are “exported” to peripheral regions with less developed knowledge intensive business services.

Figure 1. Relatve industrial specializaton
Galicia/EU-27 and Galicia/Spain (2010)
Source: Own-Elaboraton based on IGE (Galician Statstcal Insttute) and Eurostat data.

University-industry interacton in Galicia: recent evidence

A few studies have analyzed the connecton between businesses and universites in Galicia during the last decades (Vence-Deza, 1992; CondePumpido, 2007). In a study made for 1998 and 1999, González-López (2000) pointed to certain structural defciencies of university-industry collaboraton in Galicia due to the specializaton in low-tech and traditonal sectors as well as the lack of specifc public support. These defciencies were shown on the poor connectons between them, based mainly on fragmented R&D contracts and services. Another barrier found, as also pointed out by VenceDeza (1992), referred to the different interests and insttutonal behaviors of both partners.

In the present research we have collected data from the three Galician universites about the different channels of interacton with industry (including public bodies). Some of this data is published and freely accessed from the universites web-sites while other was collected from the universites TTOs. At the same tme we have interviewed the directors of the three universites TTOs in order to obtain qualitatve insights into the characteristcs, evoluton and barriers of university-industry collaboraton in their universites and in Galicia as a whole

Table 3 sums up the evoluton and the current state of three different channels of collaboraton between university and industry in Galicia. These channels are R&D contracts and services, patent applicatons as well as spinoff creaton. We have analysed the period 2007-2013 in order to obtain some insights about the impact of the crisis burstng in 2008. It is important to note here two aspects. First, both patent actvity and spin-off creaton are quite recent phenomena (partcularly the last one), for this reason previous studies like some of the ones mentoned above did not contemplate it. Second, interactons for training and educatonal purposes are not included here as it is a pending issue in the Galician innovaton system. Such interactons refer only to short and not-paid internships at companies and public bodies (1-3 months) during bachelor and master degrees that in many cases are just a requisite to obtain a degree. We do not fnd, in contrast with other European countries, experiences of companies funding PhD programmes or similar initatves. Referring to the pointed channels of interacton we have observed that during the last two decades R&D contracts and services between universites and industries have grown both in terms of number and their economic amount. This growing tendency has only disappeared due to the impact of the economic crisis beginning at the end of 2008, as observed in the table. Only a tny recovery is has been noted since 2012. When dealing with patent applicatons a growing tendency is also observed in the period analyzed, although the numbers are stll quite poor when comparing with European universites. The impact of the crisis does not seem to be relevant, something that is quite understandable as the patent applicatons are usually the fnal stage of long-term research (so there is tme-gap and the crisis could affect patent actvity during coming years).

Finally, when dealing with spin-offs creaton an increasing trend is also observed even during the period of crisis. In some cases this might be explained by the reducton of public funds for research that brought some researchers to become entrepreneurs. In any case spin-off creaton is, as mentoned above, a relatvely recent phenomenon that in the cases of UDC and UVIGO began in mid-00s, thanks to the support of a specifc regional programme. The main knowledge felds and economic sectors of collaboraton vary from one university to the other, according chiefly to their specializaton profle. Most actve knowledge felds in the USC refer to health, biotechnology, ICT and environmental S&T. In the case of the USC, the interacton with the economy takes a rather cross-sectoral profle, not aimed specifcally to one economic sector. Only in the case of health sciences we fnd a specifc sector of interacton that is the (regional) public health system, since the presence of private health companies is quite modest. Other actvites like the food industry as well as fshing and aquiculture sector used to be among the most collaboratve ones; nevertheless their relevance as R&D partners has recently decreased due to different reasons. The geographical space of reference is the Galician economy as a whole as there is not a strong local specializaton in any industry. Regarding the UVIGO, the outstanding knowledge felds are industrial engineering, marine sciences and ICT. In relaton to the economic sectors more prone to collaborate we fnd a closer relatonship with the local environment, as the city of Vigo shows an important industrial traditon in the regional context. The major sectors are the automotve auxiliary industry, with strong presence in the city of Vigo, as well as the food industry (both seafood and agrarian related). Finally the ship-building industry, also relevant in the area of Vigo, is another major partner of the university.

Table 3. Channels of interacton between Galician universites and industry
Main Knowledge Fields of CollaboratonMain economic sectors of collaboraton
(000 €)
(000 €)
(000 €)
USC R&D Contracts 384 18.176,00 246,7 9.933,67 296,5 9.690,00 Health and Biotechnology Health (Public sector)
Patent Applicatons 28.5 - 46.6 - 41 - ICT Food Industry
Spin-Off Creaton 2,5 - 2 - 3.5 - Natural Rces & Environment Fishing and aquiculture
UVIGO R&D Contracts 218 9.148,50 183 6.359,47 132 6.184,31 Industrial Engineering Car industry
Patent Applicatons 14 - 19 - 23 - Marine Sciences Ship-building industry
Spin-Off Creaton 3 - 2,3 - 3 - ICT Food Sector
UDC R&D Contracts (*) 272 8.841,50 260 6.125,55 210,5 6.721,31 ICT ICT sector
Patent Applicatons 10 - 8.6 - 15.5 - Civil Engineering Ship-building industry
Spin-Off Creaton 1 - 1 - 3 - Natural Rces & Environment  
(*) including technical reports
Source: Own-elaboraton based on OTRIS data and interviews

To end with, the UDC main knowledge feld of collaboraton are ICT (due to the presence of computer studies), civil engineering and natural resources and environment. This university is probably the one with the poorest connectons with its industrial (local) environment and only the ship-building industry shows certain commitment with R&D collaboraton. Like the case of Santago but in a sensible minor scale, the interacton with the productve system in this case is mainly cross-sectoral, linked to ICT and environmental technologies.

Strengths and weaknesses of university-industry collaboraton in Galicia: a qualitatve view

According to the directors of the TTOs interviewed, the traditonal distrust among companies and universites has somehow reduced during the last years, explaining the growing trend of interactons. This has been a progressive process where the beginning of the interacton, sometmes based on small services or consultancy, is seen as a key milestone as it might derivate in more complex collaboratons. At the same tme, there have been changes in the insttutonal arrangements (formal and informal) affectng universites views of interactons with industries. These changes refer frst of all to the normatve and legal developments already mentoned in previous sectons but also, according to the TTOs directors views, changes at the behavior of research and academic personnel are observed. There of course persist barriers referred to the specifc culture and norms of academy that, in some cases like the ones related to ideological issues, are hard to overcome. In fact, the debate about the privatzaton of university (public) knowledge is stll a major and open issue when analyzing university-industry interactons. Besides, one of the persons interviewed highlighted the poor value given by the Spanish academy to transfer actvites and achievements.

Other weaknesses regard specifc legal and normatve aspects. One of them refers to the difcultes to make compatble the entrepreneurship actvity of researchers with their functon in the academy. This is largely due to the specifcites of the legal framework affectng labour relatonships of public workers. The other factor refers to the inner normatve of universites affectng R&D contracts, patent actvity and spin-off creaton. The UDC and the UVIGO have just very recently approved the specifc normatve regulatng these aspects whilst the USC stll lacks the one referring to patent and spin-off actvites. Such lacks do not impede to develop the mentoned transfer actvites as not-writen norms are applied. Nevertheless such “legal vacuum” might act as an obstacle in the future. Finally, the administratve and managerial structure for university industry interactons is another important aspect affectng such interacton. In our case, each university owns a specifc structure. At UVIGO, for instance, the TTO do not manage R&D contracts but only patent and spin-offs actvites. At USC the opposite happens, as the TTO is not in charge of these two last actvites that are under the umbrella of other organism. Finally, at UDC –afer a long period where the TTO owned very limited functons- they have decided to centralize all actvity at this ofce.

Another important aspect refers to the importance of public funding to support university-industry collaboraton, partcularly (but not only) from the regional administraton. Regional programmes have been important for instance to build service infrastructure supportng spin-offs and entrepreneurship actvites at universites. At the same tme, general programmes of R&D and innovaton usually encourage collaboraton. Nevertheless, according to some of the persons interviewed, the high importance of public support could have had a certain negatve effect as it created too much dependence on public funds for the promoton of university-industry collaboraton. This would explain the strong reducton of collaboratve actvites once the crisis burst in 2008. Regarding the relatonship with the industrial structure of the region, we have generally observed that its weight on the nature and profle of collaboratons is not very relevant. This might be related to the low-tech and traditonal profle of most sectors in which the Galician economy is specialized. Nevertheless, a certain structural disconnecton between university offer and industrial demand might also exist. Thus, only the food industry, where specifc structures like technological centres have been established during last years, shows an increasing but stll modest collaboratve propensity. In general we can observe that collaboraton is too much biased by university scientfc and departmental specializaton and too litle by local and regional industrial specializaton. Finally, we asked as well about what university might offer to industry and vice versa. Universites provide a knowledge basis for long term challenges to frms and industries, which are usually more affected by short term problems. Besides, universites are many tmes a good, highly sophistcated and quite cheap source to solve all kind of technical and producton issues. On the other hand, frms might offer to universites a feld to test research results as well as an excellent connecton to the “real world”, i.e. an opportunity to know the problems of the surrounding productve system and an opportunity to adapt less bureaucratc organizaton structures.

Table 4. Strengths and weaknesses in the relatonships between universityindustry in Galicia
Existence of a consolidated and general legal framework that allows university-industry collaboraton Too much dependence on public funds for the promoton of university-industry collaboraton
Existence of a regional government with signifcant competences in innovaton policies that has generally supported universityindustry collaboraton Remaining of some loose ends at legal frameworks regulatng university-industry collaboraton
Progressive overcoming of distrusts among companies and university personnel Lack of a unique and centralized body at universites to manage collaboratons with companies
Pioneer initatves at USC like the establishment of Spin-off incubators and a venture capital frm Lack of specifc normatve regulatng university-industry collaboraton (only at the USC case)
Progressive incorporaton of some traditonal sectors, with strong presence in the region, to collaboraton dynamics (e.g. food industry) Collaboraton too much biased by university specializaton and too litle by regional industrial specializaton
What University offers to industryWhat Industry offers to Universites
Knowledge basis for confrontng long term challenges A view of the real problems of the productve system
High level S&T solutons at a reasonable cost A feld for testng research results
  A less bureaucratc organizatonal structure
(to which adapt)

University–industry collaboraton and the insttutonal framework in apulia

The Apulia university system is formed by fve universites. The oldest is the University of Bari that was created in 1924 and the University of Lecce, recognized as public university in 1967-68. In the early ‘90s Polytechnic University was born from a separaton of the University of Bari and in 1999 the University of Foggia. Finally, in 1995 the free Apulia Mediterranean University “Jean Monnet” was established in Casamassima which is not a public University although is legally recognized. Since 1998, in accordance with the Presidental Decree n.25, these fve universites have gradually become part of the University Commitee for the Coordinaton of Apulia Region (CURC). Nowadays, the University of Bari is the most signifcant university, both on size side and in terms of number of Facultes and students as well as regarding the number of departments.

About the main research areas, there is some overlapping partcularly in the feld of social sciences and humanites. Generally, the Uniba shows a strong specializaton in health science, chemistry and physics and also in other classical disciplines such as law, economics, philosophy, languages, biology. The Unisalento and Polytechnic mostly focus on mechanics and electronic engineering as well technology; in additon, Unisalento focuses on art sciences and culture; the Unifg is specialized in agricultural sciences and health sciences. Finally, we did not include LUM (the private university) as it is formed by research staff mostly from other universites. The following scheme shows the hard sciences research areas by universites

Table 5. Apulia region Universites (2012)
 students/ Scientfc StaffdepartmentsHard sciences research areas
Uniba 56.305/1540 24 Biotechnology/Life Science
New Materials
Computer Science and ICT
Cultural Heritage
Food and Vegetable Genetcs
Health Technologies
Maritme Zoology -Veterinary Medicine
Unisalento (Lecce) 19.426/664 8 Applied Physics
Cultural Heritage Maintenance
Hearth Science
Polytechnic of Bari 12.639/299 4 Avionics/Aerospace Eng.
Hearth and Water Science
Computer Science and ICT
Transport Engineering
Unifg 10.839/359 6 Agro-Industry
Food Control Techniques
Alternatve Energy
Breeding Science and Technology

For a long tme Italian university system was characterized by a low autonomy level because the central government played a signifcant decisionmaking power in the allocaton of fnancial resources to universites (Baldini, 2006). According to this trend, the frst important fnancing experience in research feld involving universites as well as frms in the framework of extra-ordinary plan for “Mezzogiorno” development permited to establish in Bari one of the frst Italian scientfc and technological park (TECNOPOLIS) dated as from the early ‘80s and arranged by universites, public insttutons, companies and banks. However, the frst concrete regulatory example on R&D at natonal level is represented by law n. 46 of 1982 aimed to introduce new tools for supportng technological development and human resources training in research sector. Before this law, the decree n.382 regarding University Reform of 1980 gave Italian university a wide fnancial autonomy in order to promote, inter alia, additonal research networking and public as well as private funds.

The Decree n. 297 of 1999 authorised universites to issue regulatons and Iacobucci, Iacopini, Micozzi and Orsini (2011) refer that since the it has allowed researchers and professors to partcipate in the capital and management of newly established companies aimed at the industrial use of research (p. 9) and academic staff to be involved in the ownership and management of new initatves (O’Shea, Chugh and Allen, 2007). These regulatory changes brought good results: Italian universites recorded 17 patents in 1995, 35 in 1997 and 121 in 2001. This act also highlighted the capacity to set up specifc ofces within the universites like the so called Transfer Technology Ofces.

In Italy, the frst TTOs were set up just in the 90s, but only between 2001 and 2008 the most of the universites created devoted units, with a boom during the period 2004-2006, because TTOs took advantage of specifc government funds. Ultmately, the connected actvites to the technology transfer are a fairly recent phenomenon for Italian university and in several cases different structures inside universites (such as patent and research ofces) were aggregated into a unique ofce in order to increase productvity and efciency. Nowadays, almost all universites and public research insttutons have formalized specifc TTOs.

Regarding entrepreneurship, although the frst regulatory act was the above mentoned Decree, it does not well defne the meaning of “spinoff”. This decree identfes people eligible for incentves and actvites to be specifcally considered. The benefciaries are newly established companies, based on equity partcipaton or, at least, on the commitment of all or some of the university professors and researchers, PhD students, research fellows.

Through the Decree n. 593 of 2004, authorizaton procedures and intellectual property rights were well defned and each university started to govern the mater autonomously. As we said, thanks to a Decree of 2010 the natonal government fxed the goal of harmonizing the Italian legal system to European and internatonal standards, but it was ignored so that public research lost the likelihood to restore a rule, potentally able to get the ownership of patents by the university and to leave to the researcher the opportunity to be recognized as author and to get royaltes. Because of the budget constrain and the growing cuts involved the research funds, universites were encouraged to collaborate with industry.

The Apulia Region planned for the frst tme an organic programme for technological innovaton within the Operatonal Program of European Regional Policy 1994-99. The connected actons provided technical assistance to SMEs, useful for the development of technological transfer in research sector, high level training for human capital and linkages among existng structures. The goals of regional innovaton plan were FAR (Fund of subsiding research) and FIT (Fund for technological innovaton) whose general goal was to sustain the R&D actvites, and specifc goals to create joint ventures among companies and between those and universites and other research insttutons.

Thanks to the new regulatons frame by Apulia Region and EU Regional Policy, specifc policies for technological innovaton were beter defned: the Operatve Program for 2000-2006 designed infrastructures for scientfc and technological innovaton and promoted new tools able to create linkages among frms by paying great atenton to sectors potentally able to contribute to the research and technological development. Specifcally focused on the technology transfer were the Technological Competence Centres, whose main goal is the involvement of SMEs within strategic felds in terms of innovaton and technology applicaton (transports, environment, biotechnology, food and ICT). The TCCs were supported by Natonal Operatve Programme 2000- 2006 on the base of a call taken care of Ministry of University and Research. They involved universites, public and private research organizatons as well as frms coming from Nuts II Italian Regions (Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Sardinia and Sicily). These tools contributed to improve the preexistng situaton, even if did not greatly change the ability of regional system to create and absorb technological innovaton. However, the regional strategy carefully preserved both regional industrial policy and a compettve strategy within the internatonal specializaton and technology transfer frame , so that in few industrial branches some regional companies became leader in the world.

Although the R&D supply is mostly based on the university system, other public research centres like Natonal Research Council (CNR), Natonal Body for Alternatve Energy (ENEA), Natonal Insttute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and more than forty research labs were recognized by Ministry of University and Research as well as several research consorta like Centre Planning, Design and Technology of Materials (CETMA), Natonal Consortum of Research for Optoelectronic Technologies (OPTEL), Euro-Mediterranean Biomedical Scientfc Insttute (ISBEM) and Laser Centre that, albeit private subjects, have a majority public partcipaton.

The regional law n. 23 of 2007 introduced Technological Districts, that involve companies and local insttutons as well as universites and connected research centres in order to develop a common strategic plan. Afer the establishment of productve cluster in traditonal manufacturing (textle, clothing and leather, sofa, etc.), since 2009 the regional R&I strategy defned a list of economic actvites characterized by higher technological contents; then, aero-space, food, cultural heritage, biotechnology and life science, energy and environment, logistcs and producton technology, mechanics and mechatronics, new materials and nanotechnology, informaton and communicaton technology districts started to be implemented and nowadays represent a very interestng productve and technological “network of networks”. Then, technological districts are one of the main outcomes arising from the cooperaton between central government and regions and a strong tool to empower the regional planning within selected innovatve and technological felds and the collaboraton among other local insttutons, companies, universites and research centres. This mentoned strategy is fnancially supported by the ERDS, ESF and Natonal Funds.

Although we can meet a regional innovaton and research strategy in Apulia region, the ongoing reorganizaton does not seem to have realized long term investments for human resources training; consequently, this affected the innovaton path started at the top level of the regional administraton system.

The regional producton system and specializaton of Apulia region

Apulia is characterized by small and micro frms and only 0.35% of total have more than 50 employees. Most of these frms are concentrated in low-tech sectors (textle, clothing, footwear, wood and furniture, food) and characterized by networks with subcontractors in several stages of producton. Marketng, research and innovaton actvites are carried out by fnal frms, ofen located outside the region. Several frms are located in some territorial producton systems: textle industry in the north of Bari, clothing and footwear in the lower Salento as well as in Itria valley and in the north of Bari; sofa district in Sant’eramo, Gravina and Altamura (all located on the western border of the region). Opposite, the agri-food system appears to be more widespread albeit with a higher concentraton in Bari and Foggia; the steel industry is sited in Taranto, mechanics in Bari, chemicals and pharmaceutcals in Brindisi and Bari, aeronautc and aerospace sector embedded in Brindisi, Foggia and Taranto for the energy sector, aviaton and sofware. In Apulia are located global industrial groups such as IBM, Bosch, Edison, ENI, Alenia, Avio, Agusta, FIAT, Avents, etc.. Own elaboratons from Italian Insttute of Statstcs dataset (ISTAT, 2010) show a more detailed frame in terms of relatve specializaton index. The fgure shows the economic actvites with a specializaton rate > 1. Results confrm that the most specialized sectors are those included in traditonal manufacturing like agriculture, food industry, textle, clothing, wood, which have specializaton rates 1.5≤SI≤3.7. Then, we have those sectors characterized by a medium specializaton level like metallurgy, iron metallurgy, manufacture of motor vehicles, constructon, etc.. Although belonging to the tertary, research and scientfc development sector stll looks not much specialized showing a specializaton rate slightly higher than 0.5. Finally, no high-tech economic actvites show a specializaton index higher than 0.5.

Figure 2. Relatve sectoral specializaton in Apulia, in relaton to Italy (2010)
Source: Own elaboraton on ISTAT (2010).

When we focus on total investments in scientfc research by industry, public and private insttutons and universites, the total expenditure is lower than the natonal and EU average. The gap between regional and natonal expenditure is signifcant even considering only the R&D expenditure made by frms. The share of frms expenditure in R&D on total regional GDP is 0.18%, while in Italy it is 0.68% and in Europe it is 1.24; overall, although the Italian share of R&D on GDP in 2010 is rather low (1.26%), in Apulia is stll lower than the natonal average (0.71%)3. It means that, despite the presence of selected advanced sectors, Apulia is indeed characterized by low investments in research and innovaton. Anyway, both in the establishment of leader companies and in the territorial new form of organizaton of hightech frms, universites played an important role, being a pillar of knowledge infrastructure system in Apulia too.

Table 6. Main innovaton indicators of Apulia and EU-27
Populaton (2013) 4.050.803 501.403.599
GDPpc (PPS) (2011) 16.100 € 24.600 €
Unemployment Rate (2012) 15.6 10.4
R&D Exp/GDP (2011) 0.71 2.01
Business R&D Exp/GDP (2011) 0.18 1.24
Patent Applications to EPO per million inh (Average 2006-2010) 13.38 111.56
High-Tech Sectors (% Total Employment) (2011)* 6.2 10
* High-Tech Manufacturing + High-Tech Knowledge intensive services
Source: Eurostat.

University-industry interaction in Apulia Region: recent evidence

In the last few years, Apulian universities have been making great efforts to promote technology transfer, although they are operating within an organizational, financial and legal context not so much developed yet and often changing. Focusing on the case of the University of Bari, TTO is currently made up of two structured units staff: an area manager who is also in charge of Sector I (Spin-offs sector and productive districts) and a vicar in charge of Sector II (Patents protection and intellectual property). Conversely, the TTO of Politechnic of Bari is characterized by a single sector composed of five units staff including the area manager.

The following table shows some relevant outcomes reached by regional universities and institutions as detected by NETVAL annual report. More specifically, our elaborations related to the most recent survey of 2012 (NETVAL, 2014), compare some remarkable elements between Apulia and Italian case. We use the most recent data related to a single year as it provides less fragmented information and more specific details.

Among five regional universities, only four provided data useful to compare them with the national sample. The table displays a lower average value in terms of annual budget compared to the national sample. Anyway, the survey observes a regional value not so low, as it is positioned on the extreme of its range (195,3 Millions euro). In fact, only 14 universities are within the range of >100-≤200 (Meuro) and 22 within >200->500, among 53 answering universities out of 61 belonging to the sample. Data also show very low average values either in terms of doctoral students or contractors (384.3 vs 512.7; 133.3 vs 328.1). With regards to scientific and technological research funds, regional average value is quite low compared to the correspondent national value (29 million). If we consider the “top 5” universities, which indicate a higher level of research funds (approximately 121 MEuro/university), there is an overall increase compared to 2011.

As for inventions, active patents and licensing data show always lower average values compared to the national ones.

Spin offs by public research, although characterized by lower average values compared to the nationals, are growing in absolute terms. More specifically, Tuscany is the region hosting the highest number of spin offs (10.7%), followed by Lombardy (10.6%), Emilia Romagna (10.2%) and Piedmont (9.6%); Apulia recorded 8.3% (corresponding about to 81 spin offs). Apulia is characterized by a younger profile than other regions as regarding spin offs average life (about 3.4 years). Out of Italian 20 regions, Apulia is at the fourteen place of the ranking even if is the first between the seven regions belonging to the “Mezzogiorno”.

Table 7. Some characteristics of universities at regional and national level (2012)
 Total ApuliaAverage ApuliaTotal ItalyAverage Italy
Total annual budget of the univ / institution (M €) 781.1 195.3 12.027.4 (n=53) 226.9
Doctoral students 1.537 384,3 27.174 (n=53) 512.7
Contractors 533 133,3 17.063,1 (n=52) 328.1
Total research funds (M €) 40.8 10.2 1.496.4 28.8
Inventions 10 2.5 399 (n=51) 7.8
Pantents licensing 12 3.0 201 (n=52) 3.9
Active patents 116 29.0 3.356 (n=49) 68.4
Spin offs (Year 2012) 10 2.5    
Spin offs (Total number) 81 20.25    
Source: Own elaboration based on NETVAL survey (2014).

Strengths and weaknesses of university-industry collaboration in Apulia: a qualitative view

Although TTOs are trying to strengthen the promotion of the interdependencies between university and industry, academic members are organized in departments involving broader academic areas that make difficult for industry to identify expertises in the scientific field or for facing with a specific problem. Thus, the role of the technology transfer offices should not differ from the typical function regarding information; in fact, information function by the universities’ R&D services are information professional services. Their main common goal is to lower the entrance barrier for the external business world and to complement existing informal direct contacts between university and industrial world.

Generally, the above mentioned offices have two macro-functions: first, referred to a supporting function for the assessment of projects outcomes, that are aimed at their protection, and economic development implementing patents database and spin offs; this function represents more specifically the technical and operational aspects well known the academic world. Secondly, we refer to an information function dissemination of university’s research strengths and the organizations visits to university labs for highlighting university capabilities and facilitating personal contacts between university, industry and society. So, technology transfer office should be able to launch special initiatives that lead university closer to industrial world, thanks to effective opportunities of meeting among scientists and industrial workers on specific and common topics of interest. Indeed, many firms still view university as a structure focused on basic research and teaching, unable to develop an attitude in practical matters such as applied research and projects as well.

In addition, these offices should play a role more complex than simple information services: it is sometimes hard to persuade university professors that spreading their expertise is wise and needful; conversely, some academic members suppose that their research experience is enough to play an information role.

Unfortunately, the TTOs are not well-known by university community. Opposite, spreading the TTOs’ mission would create a more attractive image both for the office and the university, thanks to the awareness of services that may be provided to the potential customers, including students’ placement. So, the TTOs must be able to mediate different and -several times- opposite individual as well as collective expectations.

Among the strengths that characterize university-industry networking in Apulia, firstly we have to highlight the regional knowledge and research infrastructure that relies on 4 public universities (+ a private one), the local office of the main national research institute as mentioned above, and 49 public and private labs acknowledged by Italian Ministry of University and Research, out of the internal labs of the biggest company. Then, Apulia is not at the start-up step of the research-innovation-technology transfer chain (RITECH); rather, it is in a fording position where it is hard to come back as well as to go on, considered that the so called “RITECH” process cannot be tackled trough a “stop and go” strategy.

The second strong point of Apulia ritech system is the involvement of multinational groups (Agusta-Westland, Alenia, Aventis, Avio Aero, Bendix Altekna, Bosh, Edison, Eni, Getrag, Ibm, Ilva, etc.) and, in the same time, of local companies, some of them ranked at the top level in their own branch (Cle, Imp, Insoft, Itel Telecomunicazioni, Mermec, Masmec, Sincon, etc.)

The third condition that can be considered as a strength point is the strategy adopted by regional government in order to support universityindustry collaboration thanks to EU and national funds. As referred above, Apulia Region reacted to the most of calls and initiatives promoted at overnational as well as domestic level, acting in the framework of the institutional planning activity (POP 1994-2000; PO 2000-2006; PO 2007-2013), whose outcomes and perspectives are up to dated within the Smart Specialization Strategy 2020 of Apulia Region. This document demonstrates the importance of a governance authority for planning and managing the regional innovation strategy. In Apulia, the regional government is supported by three operative agencies (ARTI, InnovaPuglia, PugliaSviluppo), that complete the panel of the main actors of the industrial policy at Apulia regional level (university, firms, regional government). As industrial policy we mean the body of public activities involving actors, rules and other stakeholders, able to create the conditions for structural economic changes more intensive than the spontaneous transformation that we can get without the same policy (Bianchi and Labory, 2011; Warwick, 2013; Viesti, 2013).

Finally, we can include within the strengths list some other pro-active conditions, such as:

  • Young unemployed people having a high education degree (Dileo, Garcìa Pereiro, Losurdo, 2013);
  • High-tech districts of production acting within high-tech branches;
  • Qualified services system;
  • Increasing demand for added value services.

Among the weaknesses, first of all we remark a basic point: a lot of barriers against the university-industry cooperation still remain. The most important of these are the long-term orientation of university as well as the lack of suitable government programme in the long term specific research areas. One more weak point is the low profile of TTOs and Regional Industrial Liaison Office (ILO), generally due to the lean ability of their staff in managing technology transfer. At least they need a person who is well-known inside the university and has a large personal network of contacts with industry not only at regional but also at international level managing the liaison office. The operational tasks of the TTOs are not optimal for several reasons largely due to the lack of a staff having specific knowledge of the entrepreneurial world as well as devoted research units able to manage the bridging with the industrial sector.

Another weakness can be the presence of public bodies that should play a role of assistance and technical support to regional governmental authority as well as consulting service to the networks and other operators engaged in the technology transfer. Indeed, sometimes they play a sort of duplication of university-industry networks. We are referring to the role played by some public equivalent bodies, such as InnovaPuglia and PugliaSviluppo that mostly practice a kind of intermediation whose consequence is the crowding out of the devoted organizations like Competence Centres, TTOs, that are the main expression of university-industry cooperation, and the “nodes” of public research centres (i.e. a new form of networking actually in progress thanks to PO-ERDF 2007-2013).

This unnecessary duplication adopted by regional agencies contributes to form an additional weakness that is the lean support given by public procurement in order to empower the rithec process and encourage university and industry cooperation to set-up induced projects and promote new firms and goods, new specialization able to integrate the existing ones and to revaluate “traditional” branches of production adopting new materials and process.

Connected to this last weakness is the slow trend of technological upgrading of public bodies, which is areally weak point in terms of technological enhancement of the system and of cooperation university-industry in order to create new firms and additional employment opportunities. Finally, a not organized and well addressed public demand loses the opportunity to realize a mix between direct financial subsides and indirect supports, that should be the long term perspective of the integrated system of networking, which Apulia regional government is trying to create by joining research organizations and firms.

Universities would offer to entrepreneurial world their research ability cumulated over time, continuity in accessing to consultants and patent rights, new business opportunities as well as new highly skilled graduates potentially able to create new ideas and improving the performance of firms. In addition, the industrial world might offer to universities a more practical approach and technical methods as well as enriching teaching programs through devoted stages useful for job placement and implementing new model of decision making.

Finally, although the utility is not clearly perceived, especially in the short term, the impact of a triple connection TTO-University-Firm would stimulate the productivity through the mutual and stable interaction between different agents involved in this process. In this case, the interest of researchers and professors in the collaboration between university and industry is potentially higher. In fact, the simultaneous connection between the marketing capabilities of TTOs, scientific competence of the academic staff as well as the entrepreneurial vision would provide faster updates on the development dynamics both at local and regional level. The outcomes arising by this relation could be converted into higher publications level, more participation in international conferences and international scientific agreements.

Table 8. Strengths and weaknesses in the relationships between universityindustry in Apulia region
Presence of a wide regional knowledge infrastructure High polarization among traditional industry and high-tech branches
Availability of a regional strategy for scientific research Low propensity to R&D investment expenditure
Reference multinational groups and SMEs leader players Lean demand for innovation and modest role of public procurement
Increasing demand for added value services Duplication of roles and functions within tech transferring system
Districts of production acting within high-tech branches Moderate rate of young people with mediumhigh level education
Young unemployed people having a high education degree Low profile of public agents working in research field
What University offer to industryWhat Industry offers to Universities
Own research capacity Access engineering, technical development, manufacturing
Continuity in accessing to consultants and patent rights Enriching teaching programs through devoted stages
New ideas and business opportunities Placement and job opportunities
Recruitment of graduates New model of decision making


In general terms we can affirm that a progressive transition from a mode-1 to a mode-2 system has occurred at the relational framework affecting universities and industry both in Apulia and Galicia. This has affected both the formal (legal) and informal (behaviors) frameworks. Thus, we have seen that although normative and legal changes have first occurred in Galicia and as a consequence universities own TTOs in early 90s, in Apulia these changes also happened some years later. Moreover, TTOs are organized-generally speaking-in a very similar way at both regions, performing very similar functions.

n both regions, public support-particularly from the regional level- has been a key instrument to promote the interaction of university-industry collaboration. Different programmes, like the one supporting technologicalproductive districts in Apulia or the R&D plans in Galicia, have encouraged the joint participation in R&D projects of business and universities research bodies. The effort of Apulia decision maker to create a critical mass of researchinnovation-technology system is producing appreciable outcomes in terms of changes affecting university-industry relationship. Public support could nevertheless have created certain dependence on public funds, as shown in the Galician case with the strong reduction of R&D contracts between universities and industry due to the cut of public funds in the crisis period.

Moreover, in both cases certain barriers coming from the different cultures and institutional behaviors remain. Long term university views contrast with short-term and concrete needs of industry. This might be related to a still short tradition in cooperation since, as noted in the Galician case, beginning a collaborative experience even when the R&D content is low, makes a difference for the future development. In any case a certain culture that gives little value to transfer activities at universities -in Spainor visions centred on sectoral instead of interdependent approaches -in Italy- (Losurdo and Dileo, 2014), are still performing as obstacles. Time is needed to consolidate cultural and behavioral changes at both university and industries.

Other barriers refer to normative aspects which still remain uncertain, like the possibility to make compatible entrepreneurship and academic activities in Galicia, or the legal framework affecting patent and authorship in Italy.

Regarding the productive specialization, from the Italian case we have learnt that the low propensity of industry to invest in R&D and innovation activities is a major barrier for collaboration with universities. This is particularly relevant when dealing with traditional industry and the Apulia case shows strong differences between this industry and high-tech branches, when dealing with collaboration activities. This evidence reinforces the results found by Isaksen and Karlsen (2010) for the Norwegian case, where STI dominated industries were more prone to cooperate with universities than DUI industries. In relation with this, in the Galician case we have observed that collaboration is somehow too much biased by the university scientific and departmental specialization and too little by industrial specialization. This might be related to the low-tech profile of regional industry but probably an adjustment of the university offer in terms of research and academy is also needed. Actually, some traditional activities, like the food industry in the Galician case, have progressively been involved in collaboration action with universities.

Further research on university-industry collaboration, based on the Apulia region and Galicia case, will aim at observing how this interaction enters into and shapes the innovation system of each region. At the same time, although a large-scale research will be needed, it will be very interesting to analyze in depth the impact of university-industry collaboration in the development of these two less-favoured European regions.

Finally, according to other experiences, it will be interesting to test in Galicia and Apulia the effect of firm´s size into the likelihood of intensifying the cooperation with university as well as whether or not the presence of employees with higher university degree may improve the absorptive capacity of enterprises. It will be also interesting to investigate whether the difference between STI and DUI industry modes of innovation stand in our case or not to explain collaboration between university and industry.


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Biographical notes

Manuel González López is a PhD lecturer and researcher at the Department of Applied Economics in the University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Spain). He holds a MSc and MPhil in Social Sciences from the University of Manchester (UK) and he has been a visiting researcher at several European universities. His main fields of research are Economics of Innovation, Regional Economics in the European Union and more recently also the industrial and innovation dynamics of the Food Sector. He has published numerous papers in different journals like European Urban and Regional Studies, Environment and Planning C or European Planning Studies. He has also particiapated in several European research projects
Francesco Losurdo is a Professor of Economics at the Department of Political Science, University of Bari (IT), General Secretary of Community of Mediterranean Universities, President of Daisy-net Competence Centre. He was Visiting Professor at the Universidad Argentina de la Impresa, Universidad de Conceptiòn del Uruguay. He also was Visiting Professor at the University of Szczecin (PL), University of Warmia and Masuria at Olsztyn (PL) and University of Hankuk at Seoul. His research interests have focused on industrial policy, regional policy and planning and assessment of European programmes.
Ivano Dileo received his PhD in Demography and Economics at the University of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’ focusing on industrial agglomeration of economic activities. He was a visiting PhD student at the University of Sheffield (UK) and Visiting Researcher at the University of Santiago de Compostela (SP). His research interests have mostly focused on industry, innovation and regional development.