Academic engagement: A review of the literature 2011-2019

Markus Perkmann, Rossella Salandra, Valentina Tartari, Maureen McKelvey, Alan Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (SciVal)


We provide a systematic review of the literature on academic engagement from 2011 onwards, which was the cut-off year of a previous review article published in Research Policy. Academic engagement refers to knowledge-related interactions of academic scientists with external organisations. It includes activities such as collaborative research with industry, contract research, consulting and informal ties. We consolidate what is known about the individual, organisational and institutional antecedents of academic engagement, and its consequences for research, commercialisation, and society at large. Our results suggest that individual characteristics associated with academic engagement include being scientifically productive, senior, male, locally trained, and commercially experienced. Academic engagement is also socially conditioned by peer effects and disciplinary characteristics. In terms of consequences, academic engagement is positively associated with academics’ subsequent scientific productivity. We propose new areas of investigation where evidence remains inconclusive, including individual life cycle effects, the role of organisational contexts and incentives, cross-national comparisons, and the impact of academic engagement on the quality of subsequent research as well as the educational, commercial and society-wide impact.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104114
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number1
Early online date29 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Academic consulting
  • Academic entrepreneurship
  • Collaborative research
  • Commercialisation
  • Technology transfer
  • University-industry relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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