The "gradient effect" in federal laboratory-industry technology transfer partnerships

Pablo Saavedra, Barry Bozeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Based on data from 229 industry-federal laboratory projects, our research analyzes combinations of technical roles and laboratory characteristics to determine their relation to projects' effectiveness. The results show increased effectiveness when the combination of technical roles follows a "gradient." That is, performance is enhanced when the company plays a different technical role than the laboratory, but a role that is only a step away on the basic-applied-development spectrum. Effectiveness diminishes when both the company and the federal laboratory play the same technical role or when the technical roles are far apart on the basic-applied-development spectrum. The results may have general implications for public policy partnerships, suggesting that although partnership effectiveness requires distinctive roles, partner roles should not be so different as to undermine possibilities for coordination and integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-252
Number of pages18
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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