Are scientific capacities and industrial funding critical for universities' knowledgetransfer activities? - A case study of South Korea

  • Kwon, Ki-Seok (Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI))
  • Published : 2011.04.30


This study focuses on the knowledge-transfer activities of Korean universities at the organisational level. Considering the idiosyncratic characteristics of the Korean university system, as well as those of universities in other recently developed Asian countries experienced a rapid economic catch-up, this study is more interested in the relationship between the scientific capacity of universities and their knowledge-transfer activities, and between universities' funding sources and their knowledge-transfer activities. According to the results of the study, scientific capacity in a specific discipline, such as engineering, is important for universities in both other developed countries and in Korea, while scientific capacity (regardless of the discipline) is apparently not important for Korean universities, particularly in the area of domestic publication. Furthermore, this result supports the proposition suggested that strategically chosen industrial sectors in rapid catch-up countries are closely related to the scientific capacity of universities in specific disciplines. In terms of funding sources, the amount of funding from industry is strongly related to the knowledge-transfer activities of universities, whereas the proportion of funding from industry relative to the total amount of funding is not as significantly related to knowledge-transfer activities. The failure to identify a significant relationship between central government funding and knowledge-transfer activities may be due to less strict requirements for commercialisation in central government R&D programmes. Otherwise, central government funding fails to generate meaningful knowledge-transfer activities in universities.



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