In this paper, we use data from the Carnegie Mellon Survey on industrial R&D to evaluate for the U.S. manufacturing sector the influence of “public”(i.e., university and government R&D lab) research on industrial R&D, the role that public research plays in industrial R&D, and the pathways through which that effect is exercised. We find that public research is critical to industrial R&D in a small number of industries and importantly affects industrial R&D across much of the manufacturing sector. Contrary to the notion that university research largely generates new ideas for industrial R&D projects, the survey responses demonstrate that public research both suggests new R&D projects and contributes to the completion of existing projects in roughly equal measure overall. The results also indicate that the key channels through which university research impacts industrial R&D include published papers and reports, public conferences and meetings, informal information exchange, and consulting. We also finnd that, after controlling for industry, the influence of public research on industrial R&D is disproportionately greater for larger firms as well as start-ups.

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