This paper aims to develop a model to analyse and improve the performance of R&D activi-ties in Italian public universities through the intellectual capital (IC) perspective. The extant literature includes several models for R&D analysis, but none quantify the link between IC and universities’ research activity performance. This research attempts to fill a gap in knowledge by explicitly focusing on the relationship between IC according to its dimensions and universities’ research activity performance. To achieve this aim, we develop a theoreti-cal model and test the model using secondary data from all the Italian public universities through the structural equation modelling method. The findings show that small universi-ties with a good level of relations with external organisations, a good level of internation-alisation and solid infrastructure have a higher level of scientific productivity than larger universities that are less internationalised and invest less in infrastructure.
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