Thanks to the second French Community Innovation Survey, a measurement of the importance of public research organisations as a useful source of innovation for manufacturing firms is available. We thus provide an exploratory econometric model where the internal R&D organisation and location of business units at the city level are both considered as explaining factors for the absorptive capacity dedicated to academic knowledge. Size, R&D intensity and organisation are found to be significant determinants of academic sourcing. The influence of local public research organisations on innovation is however found rather small and not restricted to urban areas.