Knowledge networks and universities: Locational and organisational aspects of knowledge transfer interactions

Robert Huggins, Andrew Johnston, Chris Stride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to explore the inter-organisational knowledge networks that universities in the UK engage in through their knowledge transfer activities. In particular, it analyses the extent to which organisational and locational factors are associated with the nature of these networks. Based on a UK-wide survey of universities, it is shown that the nature and formation of inter-organisational knowledge networks is related principally to the organisational characteristics of network actors, and secondarily to their spatial location. The characteristics of a network actor, in this case a university, are likely to influence the type, diversity and location of other actors with which it networks. Nevertheless, spatial location is an important secondary factor influencing network formation, especially the geographic reach of a university's network. It is further found that the value generated by universities from their knowledge networks is associated with the type of organisations within which they interact as well as their spatial location. It is concluded that such networks impact both regional innovation capability and regional competitiveness. The results have implications for policymakers, especially in terms of the spatial scale at which the demand and supply for university knowledge can be best mediated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-502
Number of pages28
JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
Issue number7-8
Early online date6 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Cite this