When Research Meets Development: Antecedents and Implications of Transfer Speed

J. Du, B. Leten, W. Vanhaverbeke, H. Lopez-Vega

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper focuses on the organization of new product development in large, R&D-intensive firms. In these firms, research and development activities are often separated. Research is conducted in dedicated research projects at specialized research labs. Once research results are achieved by research projects, they are transferred to business units for further development and commercialization. We investigate the speed whereby research projects transfer their first research results to business units (hereafter: transfer speed). In particular, we analyze the antecedents and performance implications of transfer speed. Based on data of 503 research projects from a European R&D intensive manufacturing firm, our results suggest that a fast transfer speed (as measured by the time it takes for a research project to develop and transfer its first research result to business units) is associated with a better research performance (as measured by the total number of transfers the research project generates). Moreover, we find that different types of external R&D partners - science-based and market-based partners - play distinct roles in speeding up project first research transfers. While market-based partnerships (i.e., customers and suppliers) generally contribute to a faster transfer of first research results, science-based partnerships (i.e., universities and research institutions) only speed up first research transfers of technologically very complex projects. Our results also show that early patent filings by research projects accelerate first research transfers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1198
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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