the complexity of the technological innovation process in knowledge intensive activities has led to the emergence of new collaborative arrangements and new business models to deal with research, development and innovation (rd) activities. this article presents an evaluation of the prática centros e redes de excelência petrobras/coppe (pcrex) in the light of the following research topics: triple helix, open innovation, university-industry relations and innovation networks. the pcrex model proposes the establishment of new permanent interorganizational agencies aimed at the development of specific knowledge areas. the study of the method is based on the case study of the petrobras center of excellence in geochemistry (cegeq), the prototype of the application of the method set up in 1996. the research revealed the fine alignment of the pcrex with the triple helix and the open innovation models of innovation, which confirms its high potential to leverage the innovation process. however, it also highlighted cegeq's difficulties to fully realize this potential. the case study identified the need to improve the capacity of engaging and coordinating networks and to advance in the development of an institutional environment which favors the practice of collaboration in the pcrex mode. the research also revealed that the adoption of the pcrex model for the management of rd activities is a strategic decision and therefore must the aligned with the corporate strategy.