The potential for a functional ‘triple helix’ to contribute to economic development is being increasingly accepted and embraced, particularly the bilateral relationship between higher education institutions (HEIs) and business. However, university-business cooperation (UBC) is still a fragmented and indistinct field of research, and the understanding of UBC remains inadequate since most research is undertaken around specific elements, rather than as an encompassing, overarching and interconnected system. This paper aims fills this gap in the literature by putting the pieces together to create an integrated and comprehensive conceptual UBC framework for HEIs, the UBC Ecosystem. The framework illustrates the components present in the UBC environment for HEIs, such as inputs, activities, outcomes, outputs, impacts, supporting mechanisms, circumstances and context, specifying a wide range of sub-elements for each of them. In doing so, this paper makes a strong theoretical contribution with the creation of a conceptual framework, highlighting the more important elements and their interrelations as well as suggesting future research. Additionally, the paper makes a practical contribution, establishing a common UBC schema for HEI managers and policymakers to make strategic and operative decisions, and used as a base for evidence-based management and policy.
- University-business cooperation