Matching Firms and Scientists: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial

Last registered on February 16, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Matching Firms and Scientists: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial
Initial registration date
February 13, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
February 16, 2024, 3:56 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
World Bank

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Business-science collaboration is essential for fostering innovation and economic development, particularly in rapidly evolving sectors like AI and Energy Efficiency and Sustainability. We study how to enhance the collaboration between firms and scientists given persistent barriers such as information frictions, behavioral biases, and high transaction costs. To address existing challenges, the research investigates the potential of matchmaking interventions. Specifically, it evaluates the SCINERGY '24 Pilot in Croatia, designed to match firms with scientists possessing relevant expertise and provide comprehensive support throughout their collaborative endeavors. Matchmakers facilitate meetings, offer guidance, and assist in knowledge transfer on topics such as IP regulations and partnership agreements. Collaborative projects between matched pairs of scientists and businesses are undertaken during the matchmaking phase. 100 firms are randomly selected for support and 110 are in the control group. The difference in performance of the two groups of firms over time will be investigated by capturing differences in collaboration rates/ fields/ quality of collaboration, innovation outcomes, and firm growth. The study shall help improving the understanding of factors driving successful business-science partnerships. It shall offer causal and descriptive insights on the potential of interventions that enhance collaboration in academia and industry and through that on their potential to foster innovation and economic development, while also discerning differential effects for different firm types (e.g., w/o prior experience in collaborating with academia or w/o clear research support needs).

Registration Citation

Avdeenko, Alexandra et al. 2024. "Matching Firms and Scientists: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial." AEA RCT Registry. February 16.
Experimental Details


The intervention is specifically designed to address the challenge of fostering effective collaboration between firms and scientists. Despite the potential benefits of collaboration, firms often struggle to access relevant scientific expertise, while scientists may encounter difficulties in commercializing their research findings. We investigate the effectiveness of matchmaking interventions in bridging this gap. We plan to examine whether and how matchmakers facilitate connections between firms and scientists, improving communication, trust-building, and supporting cooperation agreements. The intervention consists of pre-selecting and introducing relevant potential partners and supporting them in the generation of collaborative first projects and partnerships.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Business-science collaboration agreements signed
R&D grant application submitted for funding
Firm's utilization of research infrastructures
Self-reported gains from collaboration
Percent of revenues attributable to innovation in the last 6 months
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Full-time employees
Annual firm total income
Areas of R&D collaboration chosen
Patents (yes/no)
Trademarks (yes/no)
Joint research applications in progress
Planned and actual follow-up collaborations with same/different scientists

Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experimental design will be a simple design with one main treatment arm and one control arm. The main treatment will be a composite treatment, featuring three main components: first, a matchmaking component, which suggests up to three scientist matches for each treatment firm. The second component will be an in-person event which will have a workshop to catalyze collaborations and include facilitated brainstorming sessions to identify joint areas for collaboration. The third will be post-workshop support (including in-person meetings and consultation sessions) in facilitating the resolution of any issues in the collaboration, incl. the provision of informational materials that would facilitate a collaboration such as model templates and legal advise for allocation of intellectual property resulting from the partnership (if any). The control arm will not receive any of these components.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
210 firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
210 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 treated, 110 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
80% power for 200 firms if we assume that we move the likelihood of business-science collaboration from almost zero (0.01%) to 10%.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
London Business School
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number