Peripherality and university collaboration: Evidence from rural SMEs in the UK

Andrew Johnston, Daniel Prokop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


While innovation is viewed as crucial means of promoting competitiveness of rural SMEs, rural areas can be blighted by an ‘underdeveloped innovation environment’. Perhaps due to an urban bias in innovation research, open innovation through university collaboration among rural SMEs has not been extensively examined. Using a dataset of 880 rural SMEs from the UK, the paper suggests that rural SMEs are less likely to collaborate with a university than urban SMEs. Furthermore, higher numbers of employees and export revenues have a positive influence on the propensity to collaborate with a university. In addition, collaborating with organisations such as private laboratories and public sector research institutes increases the propensity to engage in university collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-306
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date16 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.


  • Rural SMEs
  • University-industry links
  • University collaboration
  • Open innovation
  • Rural development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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