Science in Business Interaction : A Study of the Collaboration between CERN and Swedish Companies

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is twofold; to gain and understanding of how CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, interacts with industry; and to gain an understanding of how CERN can become a resource for industry. Both parts of the purpose also have implications for the issue of CERN’s usefulness to industry.Starting from the popular argument that scientific research can be useful for society through its potential benefits for industry; the thesis investigates the interaction between CERN and Swedish industry. As a complex research organisation is not a homogenous entity, CERN is regarded as a collection of heterogeneous resources which companies can relate to, and benefit from, in different ways.  It is argued that, in order to understand how CERN can be useful for industry, it is important to understand what CERN is. A substantial part of the thesis is therefore dedicated to describing CERN and its context. Apart from a description of CERN’s activities, structures, and history; the case specifically describes two of the main contact points between CERN and industry; technology transfer and procurement. Of the 15 Swedish companies that constitute the industry part of the study, two of the CERN-industry relationships are elaborated on (Ericsson and ABB).The case is primarily based on interviews with over 90 people carried out at CERN and in Sweden, as well as informal conversations and observations during extended visits at CERN.The findings suggest that companies can gain knowledge (and technologies) from CERN, but that it is through interaction rather than through specialised structures that these resources are acquired. The interaction between CERN and industry is restricted by CERN’s procurement rules, which affects what interaction is possible. The increased focus at CERN on knowledge transfer issues may result in increased transfer, but the study indicates that for this to happen an increased focus on interaction is necessary.

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