Knowledge Exchange Between Universities and SMEs: The ‘Situation’ of SMEs

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Exchanging knowledge between university and industry is generally known to be problematic. In this paper we address the situation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to understand their use of knowledge: in particular scientific knowledge.

The paper will present data from a qualitative study of the situations of eight SMEs. The data consists of ‘walk-alongs’, situational maps, and thirty-seven semi-structured interviews. The goal is to provide an in- depth understanding of the numerous circumstances that influence SMEs’ interactions with universities and scientific knowledge.

The paper presents new understandings related to industry’s ways of perceiving, accessing and imple- menting scientific knowledge; these include insights into the primary ways in which SMEs appropriate new knowledge; the barriers to acquiring new knowledge; how SMEs understand the university setting; the ways in which SMEs access and utilise scientific knowledge; and the barriers to acquiring and utilis- ing scientific knowledge. On the whole, the paper points out a need for universities to change their presentation and communication of scientific knowledge to SMEs; it also discusses the criteria for these new ways of communicating.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateJun 2016
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
EventUniversity-Industry Interaction Conference - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jun 20163 Jun 2016


ConferenceUniversity-Industry Interaction Conference
Internet address


  • Knowledge exchange
  • university–industry interaction
  • small and medium-sized enterprises
  • SMEs
  • situational analysis
  • qualitative study


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