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Transferring New Dynamic Capabilities to SMEs: The Role of ONERA – The French Aerospace LabTM in Promoting Asymmetries Management

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Document pages: 28 pages

Abstract: The technology transfer process between a public laboratory and a company has been the subject of many publications and has been widely discussed in economic theory. This paper highlights several newly identified asymmetries occurring between the different agents taking part in the process, dealing specifically with the aerospace and defense R&D sectors in France. These specificities concern the characteristics, capabilities and competencies (the ‘capacities’) of French SMEs and public research laboratories. The theoretical corpus of the article draws partly upon the analyses of ‘dynamic and interactive capabilities’ (and competencies), and for the rest upon various asymmetries identified and conceptualized on empirical sources, being based on the recent experience of one of the most dynamic Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) in France: the case of ONERA (the National Office for Aerospace Studies and Research) and its dyadic relations with the SMEs. In such a cooperative, interactive innovation process, we will argue that certain collaborative tools or practices emerge, aimed at reducing information asymmetries or acting as compensation mechanisms for other types of asymmetries between the partners at a microeconomic level; especially in France where there is a gap between the public R&D laboratories and the SMEs in terms of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs). Some of these compensation mechanisms, particularly those related to the knowledge economy, could be adapted and reshaped for agents engaged in R&D and innovation in various other sectors, perhaps inducing positive amplification effects on innovation behavior, and thereby on economic growth at the macroeconomic level within the “national innovation system”.

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