University-Industry Educational Collaboration: Knowledge spillovers and spillins through student-written cases and MSc theses

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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Most companies and organizations are primarily interested in universities' educational activities and to a lesser extent in universities' research activities. Against this background, it is strange that the research on collaboration between universities and the surrounding society is primarily directed towards research collaboration between universities and companies/organizations and to a lesser extent towards educational collaboration between universities and companies/organizations. The purpose of this thesis is to increase both the empirical and theoretical knowledge of educational collaboration between universities and the surrounding society, specifically companies and organizations. The thesis particularly wants to contribute to increased knowledge about the advantages and success factors related to educational collaboration for universities, students, and teachers as well as the collaborating companies and public organizations. This contribution is made by answering the overarching research question:

What are the benefits of university-industry educational collaboration and how
can university-industry educational collaboration succeed?

Five studies have been conducted. Two qualitative studies on Student-Written Cases within a master's course "Technology Strategies" which are based on real cases within collaborating companies. A quantitative study of MSc theses was performed at the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Economics and Management, both at Lund University, during 2016, as well as a survey study of collaborating companies and organizations related to these MSc theses. Finally, a conceptual study has been conducted to develop the theoretical understanding of educational collaboration.

The thesis demonstrates that educational collaboration within individual courses must be planned and implemented carefully with collaborating companies or organizations. The purpose of the collaboration must be clearly communicated to all stakeholders. The thesis also presents a tested model for how Student-Written Cases and teaching notes based on real situations in companies and public organizations can be planned and implemented in teaching.

When it comes to MSc projects that are carried out in collaboration with companies and organizations, studies show that it is mainly larger companies that have realized the value of educational collaboration. They have seen the importance of this mainly in terms of recruiting students, but also for knowledge support in their innovation processes, especially for product innovations and in the early innovation phases, i.e., screening of new technologies and development of applications. The thesis also shows a slightly lower interest from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in educational collaboration. The SMEs that get involved in MSc thesis projects have a greater interest in problem solutions in the later innovation process, i.e., prototyping and testing them. To engage more SMEs in MSc thesis projects, more information, and stronger incentives, such as vouchers, are required to increase interest. The thesis concludes with elaborating a conceptual framework that describes the development stages of a university institution’s collaborative capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Design Sciences
  • Nilsson, Fredrik, Supervisor
  • Bengtsson, Lars, Supervisor
Award date2024 Apr 26
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-8104-031-9
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-8104-032-6
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Apr 2

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2024-04-26
Time: 09:15
Place: Lecture Hall Stora hörsalen, IKDC, Sölvegatan 26, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund University, Lund. The dissertation will be live streamed, but part of the premises is to be excluded from the live stream.
External reviewer(s)
Name: Tukiainen, Taina
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: Vaasa University, Finland.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Engineering and Technology

Free keywords

  • University-Industry collaboration
  • University-Industry Educational collaboration
  • Knowledge spillover
  • knowledge spilling
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Collaborative capabilities

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