Technology Transfer Business Resource Materials

Entrepreneurship Law Editorial Team


Judith Albers & Thomas R. Moebus, Entrepreneurship in New York: The Mismatch between Venture Capital and Academic R&D (2014).

Abstract (from  The Entrepreneurship in New York study is a joint venture of the SUNY Levin Institute, the Research Foundation of SUNY, and SUNY Geneseo. This study shows that New York now commands a larger share of national venture investment than in past studies. Although, within this picture a significant disconnect is revealed. New York’s strong performance in academic R&D in the sciences stands in contrast with the relatively modest amounts of private investment available to move these innovations forward commercially. In 2012, 85% of the venture capital invested in New York State firms was invested in information technology and creative and commerce services, while 15% was invested in the life and physical sciences. By contrast, 89% of academic R&D expenditures in New York State were in the life and physical sciences, with only small amounts invested in IT.

The Chicago Handbook of University Technology Transfer and Academic Entrepreneurship, (Albert N. Link, Donald S. Siegel, & Mike Wright eds., 2014).

Abstract (from publisher): As state support and federal research funding dwindle, universities are increasingly viewing their intellectual property portfolios as lucrative sources of potential revenue.  Nearly all research universities now have a technology transfer office to manage their intellectual property, but many are struggling to navigate this new world of university-industry partnerships. Given the substantial investment in academic research and millions of dollars potentially at stake, identifying best practices in university technology transfer and academic entrepreneurship is of paramount importance.

The Chicago Handbook of University Technology Transfer and Academic Entrepreneurship is the first definitive source to synthesize state-of-the-art research in this arena. Edited by three of the foremost experts in the field, the handbook presents evidence from entrepreneurs, administrators, regulators, and professors in numerous disciplines. Together they address the key managerial and policy implications through chapters on how to sustain successful research ventures, ways to stimulate academic entrepreneurship, maintain effective open innovation strategies, and improve the performance of university technology transfer offices.

Henry Etkowitz, MIT and the Rise of Entrepreneurial Science (2007).

Abstract (from Amazon Product Description): MIT and the Rise of Entrepreneurial Science analyses the transformation of the university's role in society as an expanded one involving economic and social development as well as teaching and research. This book shows that the ground-breaking university-industry-government interactions have become one of the foundations of modern successful economies.


Abstract (from product description at  A Triple Helix of university-industry-government interactions is the key to innovation in increasingly knowledge-based societies. As the creation, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge moves from the periphery to the center of industrial production and governance, the concept of innovation, in product and process, is itself being transformed. In its place is a new sense of “innovation in innovation”— the restructuring and enhancement of the organizational arrangements and incentives that foster innovation.

Fulfilling the Promise of Technology Transfer: Fostering Innovation for the Benefit of Society (Koichi Hishada ed., 2013).

Abstract (from publisher): Universities and research institutes are increasingly expected to contribute to society by creating innovation from the returns of their research results and the establishment of new technologies. Toward that goal, Keio University in Japan held an international symposium titled “Fulfilling the Promise of Technology Transfer: Fostering Innovation for the Benefit of Society.” From that symposium the following contents are included in the present volume: 1) A showcase of ideas and case studies to promote future creation of innovation by universities and research institutes worldwide, including information on the R&D value chain, licensing, income generation, start-ups and mechanisms to encourage entrepreneurship, and the changing role of universities in fostering innovation. 2) Introduction of active research projects that aim to productize successful research results on an international level. For example, the book includes results of research on stem cell technologies and regenerative medicine as well as the realization and application of polymer photonics and the development of the core technology of polymer photonics. 3) Case studies from the U.K. in developing industry–academia collaboration with various business partners ranging from start-ups and spinout companies to large enterprises. 4) Reports of the achievements of the technological transfer activities at Keio University supported by the 5-year public fund, with suggestions for future prospects.


Abstract (from publisher):  This volume presents a series of perspectives that evaluate the merits of and potential for establishing institutionalized social valuation protocols within university settings. The volumes open with a comprehensive overview of the existing literature that addresses issues related to assessing the social value of university innovations. The first section provides sociological, organizational, and economic perspectives on issues informing the forecasting and/or demonstrating the social value of university innovations. The second section explores potential metrics and measures for either forecasting or demonstrating the social and economic value of university innovations. The third section concludes by considering issues of governance over and the organizational positioning institutionalized protocol for forecasting and demonstrating the social and economic value of university innovations.

Sarfraz A. Mian, Science and Technology Based Regional Entrepreneurship: Global Experience in Policy and Program Development (2011).

Abstract (adapted from publisher): Providing a global survey of public policies and programs for building national and regional ecosystems of science and technology based entrepreneurial development, this book offers a unique analysis of the advances, over the last several decades and in light of the experiential knowledge gained in various parts of the world, in the understanding of innovation systems in the pursuit of developing these economies. Presenting nineteen case studies of diverse developed and emerging economy nations and their regions, more than thirty expert authors describe an array of policy and program mechanisms that have been implemented over the years. The in-depth analyses of the worldwide efforts featured in this volume provide the reader with several valuable lessons. There are clear indications of a trend toward better cohesion and coordination of national efforts to improve innovation but also a trend toward the broadening of regional agendas to address technology, talent, capital, innovation infrastructure and entrepreneurship culture issues – considered essential for knowledge based entrepreneurial growth. The book also offers a unique treatment of grassroots level programmatic aspects of these efforts, including some novel entrepreneurial mechanisms employed for policy implementation.

John L. Orcutt & Hong Shen, Shaping China’s Innovation Future: University Technology Transfer in Transition (2012).

Abstract (from publisher): Since the 1980s, China has worked to develop the technology commercialization capacity of its universities. Progress has occurred, but university technology commercialization remains on the periphery of Chinese economic development. Because university technology commercialization is predominantly a 'law-based' strategy, the authors examine whether China's legal system adequately supports such efforts. Since the law does not operate in isolation, the authors conduct their analysis through the lens of China's overall innovation system. This holistic approach enables the authors first to provide a more accurate analysis of the Chinese legal system's ability to support university technology commercialization and also to generate useful insights on the strengths, weaknesses and future of the country's commercialization efforts. 

Cedric Pearce, Entrepreneurship in Chemistry and the Life Sciences (2015).

Abstract (from  Research scientists are exposed to new ideas and breakthroughs before anyone else, and since they are usually the first to develop new technologies, they have the potential of being first to market. However, scientists are not typically trained to think of discoveries as potential business opportunities and so many are lost even though they might have a significant impact on society. This book is designed to help chemistry and life scientists start their own businesses. Filled with examples, it is an excellent introduction to the process of successfully identifying new scientific discoveries with commercial potential and establishing businesses based on new technology.

Craig Shimasaki, Biotechnology Entrepreneurship: Starting, Managing, and Leading Biotech Companies (2014).

Abstract (from publisher): Outlining fundamental concepts vital to graduate students and practitioners entering the biotech industry in management or in any entrepreneurial capacity, Biotechnology Entrepreneurship and Management provides tested strategies and hard-won lessons from a leading board of educators and practitioners.

It provides a 'how-to' for individuals training at any level for the biotech industry, from macro to micro. Coverage ranges from the initial challenge of translating a technology idea into a working business case, through securing angel investment, and in managing all aspects of the result: business valuation, business development, partnering, biological manufacturing, FDA approvals and regulatory requirements.

Technology Transfer in a Global Economy (David B. Audretsch et al. eds., 2012).

Abstract (from publisher): Technology transfer—the process of sharing and disseminating knowledge, skills, scientific discoveries, production methods, and other innovations among universities, government agencies, private firms, and other institutions—is one of the major challenges of societies operating in the global economy.  This volume offers state-of-the-art insights on the dynamics of technology transfer, emerging from the annual meeting of the Technology Transfer Society in 2011 in Augsburg, Germany.  It showcases theoretical and empirical analyses from participants across the technology transfer spectrum, representing academic, educational, policymaking, and commercial perspectives.  The volume features case studies of industries and institutions in Europe, the United States, and Australasia, explored through a variety of methodological approaches, and providing unique contributions to our understanding of how and why technology transfer is shaped and affected by different institutional settings, with implications for policy and business decision making.


Thomas B. Astebro, Pontus Braunerhjelm & Anders Broström, Does Academic Entrepreneurship Pay? (HEC Paris Research Paper No. 970/2013), available at:

Abstract (adapted from author): This paper investigates the private returns for academics that start new businesses. Total earnings for the universe of 478 individuals working at Swedish universities who quit to become full-time entrepreneurs between 1999 and 2008 are compiled. The authors believe this is the first analysis to include capital gains. Entrepreneurship for academics appears a gradual process and quite episodic. Earnings are similar before and after becoming an entrepreneur and dividends and capital gains are inconsequential. But the income risk is more than three times higher in entrepreneurship.

Nuria Calvo, David Rodeiro & Isabel Soares, Are USOs More Supported to Compete than Spin-offs not Linked to Universities? A Dynamic Overview and Proposal of Model of USOs Support, 14 Int’l J. Innovation & Learning 271 (2013).

Abstract (by authors): This paper investigates differential factors of survival of USOs compared to those spin-offs not linked to education institutions. Issues related to the entrepreneur-specific human capital, and also related to environmental conditions are identified as the main factors. An academic model for USOs support is presented, considering the role of USOs’ founders, academic institutions and government. This work contributes to the study of determinants in the innovation transfer system and the promotion of university spin-offs, and opens up this line of research to future developments that relate the correlation between the assessment indicators of academic support and the USOs’ success.

Bart Clarysse et al., Entrepreneurial Origin, Technological Knowledge, and the Growth of Spin‐Off Companies, 48 J. Mgmt. Stud. 1420 (2011), available at

Abstract (adapted from authors): The authors contribute to the literature on corporate spin‐offs and university spin‐offs by exploring how different characteristics in the technological knowledge base at start‐up influence spin‐off performance. They investigate how the technological knowledge characteristics endowed at start‐up predict growth, taking into account whether the knowledge/technology is transferred from a corporation or university. The authors use a novel, hand‐collected dataset involving 48 corporate and 73 university spin‐offs, comprising the population of spin‐offs in Flanders during 1991–2002. The authors find corporate spin‐offs grow most if they start with a specific narrow‐focused technology sufficiently distinct from the technical knowledge base of the parent company and which is tacit. University spin‐offs benefit from a broad technology which is transferred to the spin‐off. Novelty of the technical knowledge does not play a role in corporate spin‐offs, but has a negative impact in university spin‐offs unless universities have an experienced technology transfer office to support the spin‐off.

Pina D'Orazio et al., Determinants of Academic Entrepreneurial Intentions in Technology Transfer Process: An Empirical Test (2012), available at

Abstract (from authors): Policy makers are increasingly recognizing the central role of technology transfer from Universities into academic spinoffs that commercially exploit the research results and new technologies developed within academic scientists. The ability of universities to stimulate entrepreneurial activity and creation of new ventures would influence the economic growth through knowledge regeneration and exploiting academic inventions. Due to the early stage and embryonic nature of university technologies (Agrawal, 2006; Jensen and Thursby, 2001), it is important to understand the predictors inside University context that influence the creation of academic spin offs. The technology transfer process is an extended course of actions that starts with opportunity identification that is clearly an intentional process (Krueger et al., 2000). The aim of the paper is to focus on the determinants of academic entrepreneurial intentions of a sample of PhD students employed on the science faculty and department of University G.d’Annunzio. This research purpose is to test the validity of a theoretical model of academic-entrepreneurial intentions (Prodan - Drnovsek, 2010) to add an empirical contribute in this field. In Academic Entrepreneurship studies, some scholars have pointed out that additional research is required at individual level (Lockett & Wright, 2005) in order to investigate the relevance of academic founders’ incentives, motivations and capabilities in developing successful academic ventures (Shane, 2004). Academic scientists and in particular PhD students play an important role in determining whether spinoffs will be founded to exploit an invention. Prior studies on the opportunity recognition process, when opportunity to create future goods and services are discovered, evaluated and exploited (Shane & Venkataraman, 2000), focused on the necessity to analyze entrepreneurial intentions as a predictor of planned behavior to create new ventures (Ajzen, 1975). The academic entrepreneurial intentions, based on entrepreneurial intentions model (Bird, 1998; Kruegel, 1993), would depend from the ability to execute an intended behavior and from other variables that are a direct consequence of different environmental characteristics (Prodan & Drnovsek, 2010). In order to highlight the orientation of the academic entrepreneurial intentions of sciences research area in University G.d’Annunzio, was sent a questionnaire to PhD students to test the robustness of the model. The authors empirically test the model using structural equation modeling and a robust dataset collected in academic settings. Furthermore the finding of the paper tested in the technical faculties can add new insights where there was a lack of empirical study to confirm and improve the theoretical model.

Frédéric Delmar, Karl Wennberg & Karin Hellerstedt, Endogenous Growth through Knowledge Spillovers in Entrepreneurship: An Empirical Test, (forthcoming 2011), available at

Abstract: Endogenous growth theory suggests that technological knowledge stimulates growth, yet the micro foundations of this process remain obscure. Knowledge spillover theory posits that growth is contingent on the technology dependence of industries, forming the landscape for entrepreneurs to launch and grow ventures. We investigate these theoretical contingencies with two research questions using comprehensive employee-employer data documenting the science and technology labor force in Sweden: First, do industries with a greater need for new technology-based entrepreneurship grow disproportionately faster than other industries? Second, are the knowledge spillover effects fostering the growth of new technology based firms contingent on certain industry structures?

Mark Dodgson & Jonathan Staggs, Government Policy, University Strategy and the Academic Entrepreneur: The Case of Queensland's Smart State Institutes (2012), available at

Abstract: Significant new university initiatives are usually analyzed from the perspectives of government policy, university strategy or the entrepreneurship of particular individuals, but rarely from the view of their interdependencies. This paper reports on the creation of four Smart State Institutes at the University of Queensland in Australia and the concatenation of circumstances, decisions and actions that led to their formation. In the course of just over a decade, these Institutes, addressing biotechnology, nanotechnology, neuroscience and the molecular and cellular basis of disease, have developed into a cluster of scientific research of global significance, raising over $1 billion in investment and employing 1300 staff. A case study approach was employed in the analysis, involving 59 semi-structured interviews with key individuals involved at the organizational, regional and national levels. A range of archival data were collected and analyzed to help construct a rigorous chronology of the key events, reports and actions that led to the development of the Institutes. This research identifies the importance of the policy context, at both the Federal and State levels, conducive to the investment in the new Institutes. It shows how the University’s leadership and strategy took advantage of policy conditions, with a number of individual academic entrepreneurs providing the actions necessary to shape and guide the creation of the Institutes. Private philanthropy played a crucial role as animateur amongst the contributors. The authors argue the importance of the mutually reinforcing and concurrent contribution of all these actors and draw lessons for future government and university policy.

Liliana Doganova, Transfer and Exploration: Two Models of Science-Industry Intermediation, 40 Sci. & Pub. Pol’y 442 (2013).

Abstract (adapted from author): The creation of academic spin-offs, which are new ventures exploiting knowledge and technologies generated in public research organizations, has become a central aspect of contemporary innovation policies. This paper examines the science/industry intermediation role of academic spin-offs by distinguishing two models, which we qualify as transfer and exploration. While the transfer model has been predominant in both the literature and policy making, its assumptions have been questioned by studies depicting spin-offs as mediators that transform the entities that they transmit and the worlds between which they move. Building on a case study that traces back the emergence of a French spin-off, this paper contrasts the transfer and exploration models of science/industry intermediation. The paper identifies three main points of divergence, relating to socio-technical stability, dynamics and devices, and highlight the challenges raised by the exploration model, both in terms of scholarly analysis and public policy design.

Sara Fernandez Lopez, Luis Otero, David Rodeiro & Alfonso Rodriguez, Entrepreneurial University, Transfer Technology and Funding: An Empirical Analysis, 17(2) J. Enterprising Culture 147 (2009).

Abstract (from authors): Universities are now responsible for economic and social development. This new mission is transforming the traditional university into an entrepreneurial university. This entrepreneurial activity has mainly been carried out by transferring technology to industry, in particular, by patenting. The objective of this paper is to understand why some Spanish universities are more successful than others at patenting. In order to determine the factors that influence the patenting activity, we used a sample made up of 47 Spanish Public On-Campus Universities existing in 2003. Firstly, we applied the Poisson model. Secondly, after finding overdispersion in the data, the two approximations of the binomial negative were estimated (NEGBIN I and NEGBIN II). Lastly, we compared the results obtained with the three regression models. The results show that university patents are significantly positively associated with research funding, university size, technology transfer experience and resources and scientific areas with a greater market orientation. On the contrary, our results support the idea that university's research quality has a negative effect on the patent outputs. This study contributes to the literature on university patenting activity. First, there are no similar empirical studies about Spanish universities. Second, our findings provide quantitative evidence of the importance of funding research and university support policies in patent production. As a consequence, we can set out several policies to improve the dissemination of scientific knowledge and technology transfer activities.

Riccardo Fini et al., Complements or Substitutes? The Role of Universities and Local Context in Supporting the Creation of Academic Spin-offs (2010), available at

Abstract (from author): In this paper, the authors analyze the extent to which University-Level Support Mechanisms (ULSMs) and Local-Context Support Mechanisms (LCSMs) complement or substitute for each other in fostering the creation of academic spin-offs. Using a sample of 404 companies spun off from the 64 Italian Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics universities (STEM universities) over the 2000-2007 period, we show that the ULSMs’ marginal effect on universities' spin-off productivity may be positive or negative depending on the contribution offered by different LCSMs. Specifically, in any given region, ULSMs complement the legislative support offered to high-tech entrepreneurship whereas they have a substitution effect with regard to the amount of regional social capital, regional financial development, the presence of a regional business incubator, regional public R&D expenses as well as the level of innovative performance in the region. Results support the idea that regional settings’ idiosyncrasies should be considered for universities to develop effective spin-off support policies. This paper contributes to the debate on the evaluation of economic policies supporting entrepreneurship.

Wai Fong Boh, Uzi De-Haan & Robert Strom, University Technology Transfer Through Entrepreneurship: Faculty and Students in Spinoffs (2012), available at

Abstract (adapted from author): Spinoffs play a critical role in moving early-stage technologies that are developed in universities to the market. This study offers a thorough analysis of the university spinoff development process, focusing in particular on student involvement in the initial phases of these technology commercialization efforts and on the impact of the larger university ecosystem. Prior research examining technology transfer and entrepreneurship in universities has neglected the important role student entrepreneurship plays in the technology transfer process (Grimaldi, Kenney, Siegel, and Wright, 2011). This study of university commercialization efforts suggests that graduate and post-doctoral students are critical participants in university spinoffs, and offers an in-depth examination of their roles, focusing on the preliminary stages of spinoffs initiated by faculty and students. This research led to a typology of spinoff development with four pathways, based on the varying functions of faculty, experienced entrepreneurs, PhD/post-doctoral students, and business students. This typology provides insight into the diverse responsibilities of students and faculty in the technology commercialization process, the different relationships between students, faculty, and entrepreneurs that can lead to successful spinoff creation, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each arrangement. The study also found that the larger university ecosystem has a significant impact on technology transfer. Prior research on this topic suggests that the university technology transfer office (TTO) (e.g., Colyvas, et al., 2002; Jain and George, 2007) and the university’s commercialization policies (e.g., Di Gregorio and Shane, 2003; Goldfarb and Henrekson, 2003) are the key institutional mechanisms influencing technology transfer. The implicit assumption is that a capable technology transfer office with effective policies and a strong incentive system will lead to successful commercialization. In this study, the authors seek to broaden this perspective, suggesting that the overall ecosystem at a university and a broad range of practices are important aspects of efforts to facilitate technology transfer. The authors consider the scope of university programs and practices that may have an influence on this process.

Brett M. Frischmann, Commercializing University Research Systems in Economic Perspective: A View from the Demand Side, in University Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer: Process, Design, and Intellectual Property, volume 16, Elsevier Science/JAI Press Series: Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Growth (2005).

Abstract:  Universities face incredibly difficult, complex decisions concerning the degree to which they participate in the process of commercializing research. The U.S. government has made an explicit policy decision to allow funded entities to obtain patents and thereby has encouraged participation in the commercialization of federally funded research.  The conventional view of the role of patents in the university research context is that patent-enabled exclusivity improves the supply-side functioning of markets for university research results as well as those markets further downstream for derivative commercial end-products. Both the reward and commercialization theories of patent law take patent-enabled exclusivity as the relevant means for fixing a supply-side problem-essentially, the undersupply of private investment in the production of patentable subject matter or in the development and commercialization of patentable subject matter that would occur in the absence of patent-enabled exclusivity.  While the supply-side view of the role of patents in the university research context is important, a view from the demand-side is needed to fully appreciate the role of patents in the university research context and to fully inform university decisions about the extent to which they wish to participate in the commercialization process.

Thomas Hyclak & Shima Barakat, Entrepreneurship Education in an Entrepreneurial Community, 24 Industry & Higher Ed. 475 (2010).

Abstract : This paper examines the evolution of programs of enterprise education and technology transfer at the University of Cambridge in response to the growth of the Cambridge Cluster and public policy programs designed to enhance the economic impact of higher education institutions. The authors highlight the way education programs developed by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning uniquely reflect the needs of nascent high-tech entrepreneurs by using local entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angels and start-up support specialists as instructors; by gearing the curriculum to issues facing high-tech ventures; and by offering 'extra-curricular' programs that fit the scheduling needs of the PhD students, post-docs and research staff who constitute the intended audience. This examination provides an interesting case study of how a mature high-tech cluster can shape university entrepreneurship programs. It also illustrates how new educational and technology transfer programs have pulled the university and its nascent high-tech entrepreneurs into a closer relationship with the dense network of firms and people who make up the Cambridge Cluster.Bruce A. Kirchhoff, The Influence of University R & D Expenditures on New Business Formations and Employment Growth, 31(4) Entrepreneurship: Theory & Prac. 543 (July 1, 2007).

Bruce A. Kirchhoff, Scott L. Newbert, Iftekhar Hasan & Catherine Armington, The Influence of University R&D Expenditures on New Business Formations and Employment Growth, 31(4) Entrepreneurship Theory & Prac. 543 (2007).

Abstract (from authors): Since new firms generally lack the resources necessary to compete with their larger, older counterparts in the knowledge development process, we argue that they often rely on spillovers to fuel their own innovative efforts. Thus, we hypothesize that new firms will tend to form in areas characterized by high levels of university research and development (R&D) expenditures and that these births will in turn stimulate the local economy by generating increases in employment level and growth. We test our hypotheses at the U.S. labor market area level using secondary data from various government sources for the years 1990 through 1999. Our results demonstrate that university R&D expenditures are positively related to new firm formations, and that these new firm formations are positively related to employment level and change. These findings suggest that university R&D expenditures are an important indirect contributor to overall economic growth by encouraging primary and secondary firm births.

Mirjam Knockaert et al., The Relationship Between Knowledge Transfer, Top Management Team Composition, and Performance: The Case of Science‐Based Entrepreneurial Firms, 35 Entrepren. Theory & Prac. 777 (2011), also available at

Abstract (adapted from authors): The increased pressure put on public research institutes to commercialize their research results has given rise to an increased academic interest in technology transfer. The authors assess under which conditions tacit knowledge transfer contributes to the performance of academic spin ‐offs. Using an inductive case study approach, the evidence suggests that tacit knowledge is most effectively transferred when a substantial part of the original research team joins the new venture as founders. Commercial expertise and mindset are also required in the team on the condition that the cognitive distance between the scientific researchers and the person responsible for commercialization is not too large.

Irena Łącka, The Role of Academic Entrepreneurship and Spin-Off Companies in the Process of Technology Transfer and Commercialization, 8 J. Entrepren. Mgmt. & Innovation (2012),  available at

Abstract (by author): In developed countries, the academic entrepreneurship makes up a very important element of academic environment activities. For some time, the increase in the role of technology transfer and knowledge commercialization has been also promoted in Poland. Strong connections between the scholarship and the economy (in the future, within the university of the third generation) have a chance to build an economy based on knowledge in our country. The flow of knowledge and the introduction of new solutions (results of scholarly research) in enterprises take place through the intermediary of various methods of transfer and commercialization paths. Independent of the manner, each fulfills an important role in the public life and economy. This is confirmed by the experience of the States that are recognized as innovation leaders, and presented in the paper as examples of Polish scholars’ academic entrepreneurship.

Peter Lee, Transcending the Tacit Dimension: Patents, Relationships, and Organizational Integration in Technology Transfer, 100 Cal. L. Rev. 1503 (2012).

Abstract (by author): As a key driver of innovation and economic growth, university-industry technology transfer has attracted significant attention. Commentators often characterize “formal” technology transfer, which encompasses patenting and licensing university inventions, as proceeding according to market principles. Within this dominant conception, patents disclose and “commodify” academic inventions, which universities then advertise and transfer to private firms in licensing markets. This Article challenges and refines this market-oriented model of technology transfer. Drawing from empirical studies, it shows that formal technology transfer often involves long-term personal relationships rather than discrete market exchanges. In particular, this Article explores the significant role of tacit, uncodified knowledge in effectively exploiting patented academic inventions. Markets, patents, and licenses are ill-suited to transferring such tacit knowledge, leading licensees to seek direct relationships with academic inventors themselves. Drawing on the theory of the firm, this Article then argues that these relationships often mature into deeper forms of organizational integration involving faculty inventors, universities, and licensee firms. Presenting a descriptive theory of university-industry technology transfer, it contends that the difficulties of conveying tacit knowledge encourage various forms of organizational integration by which licensees directly absorb faculty inventors (and their tacit knowledge) into their operations. From consulting arrangements to seats on boards of directors, licensees are bringing academic human capital in-house to facilitate commercialization of patented university inventions. Turning from the descriptive to the normative, this Article assesses the opportunities and drawbacks of academic-industrial integration and offers proposals to improve technology transfer while safeguarding academic norms. It concludes by exploring the implications of tacit knowledge for patent theory and the organization of technology commercialization activities.

Roman M. Lubynsky, From Lab Bench to Innovation: Critical Challenges to Nascent Academic Entrepreneurs (2013), available at

Abstract (by author): University research laboratories are important sources of the inventions and discoveries that become significant innovations with broad economic and societal impact. Invention alone is not innovation; innovation is the long, hard work of taking new technologies and bringing them to commercialization. There are many pathways for the dissemination of new knowledge that arises from basic research at universities, ranging from traditional methods such as publication and training students to licensing technology to established firms or new ventures. One way to transform new knowledge into valuable innovations is for university researchers to undertake the creation of new firms based on their discoveries through academic entrepreneurship. The problem is that university scientists and inventors with a discovery made at a laboratory bench face challenges beyond those experienced by traditional high-technology venture founders: they must finish creating the technology before they can begin using it (Jensen and Thursby, 2001; Pisano, 2006). Academics typically start with inventions so immature that their commercial success cannot be predicted (Jensen and Thursby, 2001). Academic entrepreneurship is an emerging and developing phenomenon, and there is a growing body of literature about new ventures based on university academic. However, limited research has been directed toward nascent academic entrepreneurs (NAEs) to understand the key challenges of bringing innovations to market. The majority of this work has focused on the institutional experience rather than the academic entrepreneurs and their individual experiences (Rothaermel et al., 2007). Within the broader fields of entrepreneurship and innovation, it has been argued that high-potential startups such as academic ventures should receive particular attention from scholars (Davidsson and Gordon, 2011). The following research addressed this gap. Nascent academic entrepreneurship involves more than transforming an invention into a commercialized innovation. It is about the genesis of ideas and the emergence of opportunities, the birth of new organizations, their evolution into new companies, and the transformation of scientists into leaders. It also is about providing the foundation for future innovation by others. Though nascent academic entrepreneurship is increasing in frequency, it is not well understood. The dissertation examines this important topic.

Keith E. Maskus, The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Encouraging Foreign Direct Investment and Technology Transfer, 9 Duke J. Comp. & Int'l L. 109 (1998). 

Abstract (from author): This brief review of globalization suggests that emerging countries should have strong and growing interests in attracting trade, FDI, and technological expertise. However, such interests must be tempered and supported by accompanying programs to build local skills and to ensure that the benefits of globalization actually occur. Such broader programs should include 1) promoting political stability and economic growth, 2) encouraging flexible labor markets and building labor skills, 3) continued market liberalization, and 4) developing forward-looking regulatory regimes in services, investment, intellectual property, and competition policy. IPRs are an important element of this broader policy designed to maximize the benefits of expanded market access and to promote dynamic competition in which local firms can meaningfully take part. It is beyond the scope of this Article to consider each of these issues and their complex interrelationships in detail. Rather, this Article focuses on issues of attracting FDI and technology, with a particular emphasis on the role of IPRs in this process. The first section gives an overview of recent trends in international investment and licensing, using U.S. data as a particular illustration. The second section then analyzes the main determinants of FDI, both in theory and according to available economic evidence. A similar treatment is provided for licensing. The third section discusses, from the standpoint of an emerging economy, the potential benefits and costs of incoming FDI and technology transfer, focusing on issues of information spillovers and diffusion. Throughout, the impact of IPRs is considered. With this background, the fourth section presents the broad outlines of a competitive strategy for attracting investment and technology. Inevitably, such strategies vary somewhat across countries by level of economic development and technological capability, but there are important common denominators. The final section concludes with observations on the role of IPRs in linking developing countries to an information-based global economy.

Susanne Ollila & Karen Williams-Middleton, The Venture Creation Approach: Integrating Entrepreneurial Education and Incubation at the University, 13 Int’l J. of Entrepren. & Innovation Mgmt. 161 (2011). 

Abstract (from author): University entrepreneurial activity strives to deliver commercial value from university research. Entrepreneurial education, while having the same fundamental purpose, focuses on the stimulus of the individual. Recognizing a gap in the literature between the fields of university entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education, this paper proposes a venture creation approach to learning within an integrated environment. A study of Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship shows how university entrepreneurship , in the form of incubation, and entrepreneurial education, can be integrated. This integration provides both opportunities and challenges, both of which are addressed by utilizing conventional problem-oriented and solution-focused learning philosophies in tandem. The venture creation approach builds upon combined learning philosophies in order to allow students to 'test the water' while reflecting upon real-life situations and explore entrepreneurial behaviors when creating new ventures. The paper concludes that actors engaged in combined entrepreneurial education and venture creation need to recognize, adapt to, and appreciate the tension and dynamics of the integrated environment.

Roberto Parente & Rosangela Feola, Entrepreneurial Intent and Entrepreneurial Commitment of Young Researchers, 12 Int’l J. of Tech. Mgmt. & Sustainable Dev. 155 (2013).

Abstract (adapted from authors): The creation of an academic spin-off represents one of the ways to implement the technology transfer process from university to firms. Although in Italy the preference for this form of valorization of scientific research has increased in recent years, the gap compared with the main EU countries remains wide. The main problem related to the development of academic spin-offs concerns the concept of entrepreneurial commitment, here understood as the complex of decisions and actions which bind the would-be entrepreneur to the fate of his venture. Entrepreneurial commitment should be seen as a different concept from entrepreneurial intention which could be considered as the will of a person to start a new business. Entrepreneurial intention has a role in the make-up of entrepreneurial commitment but other elements also have to be considered. Eventually, such elements may impede the formation of the entrepreneurial commitment of the would-be entrepreneur or at least weaken it. The article investigates the elements that qualify entrepreneurial intention and those which play a predominant role in developing the same into entrepreneurial commitment.

D. Patton & S. Marlow, University Technology Business Incubators: Helping New Entrepreneurial Firms to Learn to Grow, 29 Env't & Planning C: Gov't & Pol. 911 (2011).

Abstract (from authors): With this paper the authors explore how differing forms of entrepreneurial learning are facilitated within the context of business incubation. To support new technology venturing, university business incubators offer their tenants professional support and advice plus exposure to entrepreneurial networks with the objective of assisting them to address associated liabilities of newness. Accordingly, new venture founders are offered access to a range of resources to assist them in learning how to commercialize technological ideas. Entrepreneurial learning can be deemed explorative or exploitative; the authors explore how business incubation assists entrepreneurs to leverage these differing learning approaches to generate a secure resource base within the firm. From case-study evidence the authors suggest business incubation is effective in aligning a balance of learning approaches which support future growth prospects and add competitive advantage to young, fragile firms. The paper concludes by suggesting that incubator managers are critical actors in facilitating appropriate learning environments for new technology entrepreneurs.

Jane G. Payumo et al., An Entrepreneurial, Research-Based University Model Focused on Intellectual Property Management for Economic Development in Emerging Economies: The Case of Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia, 36 World Pat. Info. 22 (2014).

Abstract (by author): Higher education institutions in emerging regions of the world are increasingly expected (largely by their governments and community) to promote regional economic development and national competitiveness. This case study on one of the prominent academic universities in Indonesia – Bogor Agricultural University (Institut Pertanian Bogor, IPB) – highlights its successes and lessons learned in managing intellectual property as an entrepreneurial research-based university. This analysis of IPB provides general and specific insights for university administrators, researchers, and policy makers, especially in emerging economies, on appropriate strategies and measures in promoting synergies between research, entrepreneurialism and technology commercialization. The model provides strategies to maximize university research outputs, knowledge transfer and innovation to empower regional communities, and promote strategic and transformational partnerships, private sector engagement and economic growth opportunities for both the institution and the region.

Edward B. Roberts & Charles E. Eesley, Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT - An Updated Report (2012), available at

Abstract (from authors): The ultimate value of this study is to help us understand the economic impact of the entrepreneurial ventures of university graduates. The authors know that some universities play an important role in many economies through their core education, research and development, and other spillovers. But in order to support economic growth through entrepreneurship, universities must create a culture and programs that make entrepreneurship widely accessible to students. While MIT’s leadership in developing successful entrepreneurs has been evident anecdotally, this study — one of the largest surveys of entrepreneur alumni ever conducted — quantifies the significant impact of MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports firm startups. And, while MIT is more unique and unusual in the programs it offers and in its historical culture of entrepreneurship, MIT provides a benchmark by which other institutions can gauge the economic impact of their alumni entrepreneurs. The report also provides numerous examples of programs and practices that might be adopted, intact or modified as needed, by other universities that seek enhanced entrepreneurial development. The Appendix identifies several universities that have carried out surveys of alumni entrepreneurs.

Kelly Smith & Martin Beasley, Graduate Entrepreneurs: Intentions, Barriers and Solutions, 53 Education + Training 722 (2011).

Abstract (from author): This paper aims to investigate the factors that influenced seven graduates in the creative and digital industries to start their own businesses in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK – an area with lack of employing establishments and locally registered businesses. Design/methodology/approach – Questionnaires and semi-structured interviews identified the constraining and enabling factors graduates may encounter when attempting to start a business, and explored the impact of support provided. Findings – Perceived constraining factors were: lack of general business knowledge, contradictory advisory support from external agencies, lack of sector-specific mentors, lack of finance, and experience of familial entrepreneurship. Perceived enabling factors were: co-mentoring from business partners, course content, financial gain, creativity and innovative ideas, control and risk taking, and the overarching package of support. Linkages between internal and external support could be improved. Research limitations/implications – The study provided insights into constraints and enablers to self-employment for a small cohort of recent graduates looking to start-up in the creative and digital industries. Further studies are required to explore the suggested effect of the "creative identity", and of sector-specific family entrepreneurial background. Practical implications – The support provided by universities can facilitate the transition from early stage ideas to actual graduate business start-up. Issues such as provision of specialist advice and links with external parallel and follow-on support need to be considered. Originality/value – University start-up units provide an important contribution to the development of graduate entrepreneurs and their role in the growth of national and global economy. Suggestions for improvements in performance, such as closer links with external business development agencies and support providers, are discussed.

Wei Wei et al., The Impact of Founders’ Academic Experiences on Linking with Local Alma Maters for Chinese Start-ups, 62 Int’l J. Tech. Mgmt. 177 (2013).

Abstract (adapted from authors): Are firms founded by alumni and former graduate students more likely to form technology transfer relationships with their alma mater than other firms? Given the importance of engagement with academic institutes, the vast amount of research on entrepreneurship and technology transfer has not yet answered this question. Drawing on previous studies on founder’s academic background and university-industry linkage, this article attempts to answer the question in a Chinese metropolitan context. The authors found that firms whose founding teams have higher proportion of alumni and lower proportion of highly-educated individuals are more likely to form formal ties with the focal local alma mater. The findings have implications on academic entrepreneurs and university officers.

Online Resources

2Market Information, Inc., Technology Transfer Tactics

Association of University Technology Managers, Tech Transfer Resources,

National Venture Capital Association, Resources.

U.S. Department of Commerce, The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Focus (Oct. 2013),

Other Materials

Michael J. Malinowski, Symposium Article: Technology Transfer in Biobanking: Credits, Debits, and Population Health Futures, 33 J.L. Med. & Ethics 54 (2005).

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