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Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge and Technology Transfer and Innovation

Final Report Summary - CROSSINGBOUNDARIES (Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge and Technology Transfer and Innovation)

Crossing Boundaries aims to develop, through a programme of staff exchange, a new international & multi-disciplinary research community working in exploring the processes, challenges & implications on innovation performance of knowledge & technology transfer across national boundaries. It brings together academics from different disciplines (including economics, sociology, development studies, and business studies) and field of studies (science policy, innovation studies, entrepreneurship, rural development, ICT management, and informal sector research) from five countries: Estonia, India, Portugal, Russia, Brazil and the UK.

This research community has focused particularly on addressing five important research questions:

1. Who are the actors involved in the process of knowledge & technology transfer for the purposes of innovation across national boundaries?
2. What are the processes of knowledge & technology transfer across national boundaries & how do these differ according to the actors involved?
3. How do contextual factors (such as institutional divergence, cultural differences & geographic distance) influence the processes of knowledge & technology transfer across national boundaries?
4. How do organisational factors (such as technological capabilities, & the absorptive capacity of the firm) influence the processes of knowledge & technology transfer across national boundaries?
5. What are the implications for policy & policy transfer for innovation?

The programme will contribute in the development of theoretical constructs in addressing the five research questions above, & provide an evidence base drawn from the experience of the countries involved in Crossing Boundaries that could be used to inform future research & policy. The proposed project will also develop country case studies that explore specific aspects (territorial, organisational and policy) aspects of these issues.

During the first year of its existence the Crossing Boundaries made significant advances in developing this research agenda. Through a well-considered process of transferring knowledge a common intellectual framework for the study was developed. This framework, which takes the form of a working paper that is publicly available, has enabled the identification of specific empirical contexts for the conduct of data collection for the different tasks involved in the project. Data collection instruments were agreed, and data collection commenced during the second year of the Crossing Boundaries project, which progressed further in the third and fourth years of the project.

Another important aim of the project has been creation of an enduring partnership to facilitate future collaborative research. This is likely to be achieved in two ways. Firstly, the development of cross institutional doctoral supervision partnerships has helped develop new researchers (strengthening the research community). Secondly, the involvement of the partner institutions’ research and international officers in the programme of exchanges has enabled research networks to be built up and strengthened.

A number of initiatives aimed at developing an enduring partnership have been set in motion through the project. As planned, consideration of joint supervisory arrangements for doctoral students across the partner institutions has been facilitated and progress achieved. Moreover, joint proposals for research funding have both been submitted (British Council) and also scheduled for the near future (Horizon 2020). Detailed discussion for further collaborative work and possible further joint research, as well as joint research bids, were developed in June 2016 in Tallinn when many project partners attended the 4th and final Project Congress.

The partner institutions are: Higher School of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Tallinn University of Technology, University of Bradford (co-ordinating), University Institute Lisbon and Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR) Curitiba Brazil.