The central aim of this paper is to analyze the R&D activities of Colorado State University across its different colleges, departments, and other research units and evaluate how those activities impact the Colorado economy’s agriculturally-related sectors. We introduce a unique dataset of Colorado State University’s research activities, including a range of measures for how they relate to or impact commercial R&D within Colorado’s agricultural industries, covering 1989 to 2012. One of the strengths of this study is the extensive nature of the data, accessed from both open and institutional sources, allowing for deeper and more detailed investigation of research processes within the university and their relationship, via multiple channels, with commercial applications in industry and the state’s agricultural sectors. The study will be presented in three steps, to introduce the dynamics of university knowledge transfer to local agricultural economies; the first will focus on the production of knowledge in the university, the second will consider entrepreneurship across the boundary between the university and outside entities, and the third will examine the local agricultural economies or industries external to the university. In the first step, the university’s research is modelled within a knowledge production function framework at the level of the university departments or research units. Because of data limitations, previous studies of academic research production and knowledge transfer have focused only at the institutional level, and have been skewed toward one or two knowledge dissemination channels such as academic publications and citations, or university patents and their licensing. This study takes into consideration a full range of potential knowledge dissemination channels, as indicated by such measures as academic journal publications, degrees awarded (master and doctoral), industry co-authorship on publications, private sponsorship of research projects, extension activities, invention disclosures, patent applications, licenses, and startups, again, at the level of the different disciplines and departments or research units of the university, from 1989 to 2012. These various measures make it possible to analyze the extent to which the different types of knowledge dissemination channels work and to calculate returns to scale and elasticity of knowledge production and dissemination across the different disciplines and research units of the university. The empirical model employs a novel panel count data model with polynomial distributed lags of input-output of the knowledge production function. The second step will analyze how the entrepreneurial university works between inside and outside entities called academic research teams or scientific project teams as quasi-firms. The main components of organizing the research teams are the magnitudes and types of funding sources, and principal investigators’ social and academic networks. Moreover, principal investigators’ academic reputations and social leadership are also important to constructing research teams in order to win grants for specific research, to attract skilled team members, and to attain industrial investments or federal research grants. These research teams produce knowledge outputs in the university for different purposes or projects. At Colorado State University, in the eight years from 2005 to 2012, the average total grant award was $252 million and the average private sponsored grant award was $19 million. These grant awards have been increasing rapidly as have the sizes of research teams. Moreover, this study will explore the relationship between research team size and magnitude of research funding, which affects both the productivity of knowledge outputs and industrial collaboration activities. In addition, it will examine how research teams are assembled and composed based on agricultural and related priorities at Colorado State University and the kinds of research output they mainly produce. In the third step, Colorado State University knowledge spillover and its commercial impact on local economies, especially in Colorado agriculture-related sectors or industries, will be examined in relation to the different types of knowledge dissemination channels: public domains of knowledge mechanism, collaboration of knowledge mechanism, patenting/licensing of knowledge mechanism, and venture creation of knowledge mechanism. This step will describe and analyze not only Colorado State University agriculture based collaboration activities such as industry co-authorship articles, private sponsored grant awards, and extension budget as old fashion, but also Colorado State University affiliated patenting and venture startups as a newer mode of collaboration. Moreover, this study attempts to determine the locations of private industries in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, to confirm the relationship between geographic distance and the types of Colorado State University knowledge transfer mechanisms employed, to show whether Colorado State University knowledge channels are sticky or slippery in the local agricultural related sectors, and to consider the relationship between Colorado State University knowledge channels and State Agricultural Experimental Station (SAES) budgets. In summary, while the roles of the university have been addressed by many researchers and policy makers in the last few decades, of particular importance have been the potential of university knowledge transfer activities for both local and global economies. We examine the process of Colorado State University knowledge transfer activities and their commercial impact on local agricultural economies within the state of Colorado by way of the three steps described above: knowledge productivity (inside the university), entrepreneurship (between the university and the outside), and local agricultural economies (outside the university).


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