A temporal perspective on repeated ties across university-industry R&D consortia

Remco S. Mannak*, Marius T.H. Meeus, Jörg Raab, Alexander C. Smit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Divergent time norms between participating organizations constitute a central barrier to cross-sectoral collaborations. We unpack this tension by studying two distinct time-utilization strategies of university and industry in 1845 R&D consortia. The paper shows that collaborating organizations that are subject to divergent time norms can shift the time focus in their favor through the strategic timing of repeated ties. If university-industry consortia are repeated, this repetition tends to take place either at the beginning of the consortium (parallel timing) or at the end (sequential timing) but typically not in the middle. Industry partners seek to “compress time” by working on different consortia in parallel and therefore want to repeat a collaboration early, whereas universities seek to “extend time” through sequential timing of consortia, i.e., repeat a collaboration at the end or after a consortium has ended. We provide a qualitative substantiation of the identified time-utilization strategies and show that both options coexist in multipartner consortia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103829
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


All consortia carry out publicly funded R&D projects financed by a long-standing Dutch technology program that facilitates R&D collaboration between university and industry. We derived the data from statutory annual evaluation reports, including descriptions of the consortium goal, members, the consortium’s start and end, etc. This research context provides an ideal opportunity to investigate the timing of repeated collaboration because (I) the consortia are funded only if the composition of consortia fits the minimum funding requirements needed to stimulate collaboration; (II) repeated collaboration is important in this context as research agendas are likely to exceed the boundaries of a single R&D consortium; (III) in contrast to earlier studies (e.g., Gulati, 1995 ), both the consortium’s start and end are reported, allowing for fine-grained examination of the timing of repeated collaboration; (IV) available data allow tracing the timing of repeated collaboration 5 years after the consortium’s start and 5 years after its end; and (V) variance in consortium composition allows examining distinct types of repeated collaboration.

FundersFunder number
Dutch technology program that facilitates R&D collaboration between university and industry


    • Collaboration barriers
    • Multipartner R&D-consortia
    • Repeated collaboration
    • Time norms and timing preferences
    • University-industry collaboration


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