The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 203–232 | Cite as

Are science parks and incubators good “brand names” for spin-offs? The case study of Turin

  • Elisa SalvadorEmail author


In recent years there has been an increasing focus on universities’entrepreneurial orientation and their ability to exploit and transfer scientific knowledge to the commercial sector. Spin-off firms are recognised as an important opportunity for universities. This paper aims to examine the university spin-off firm context, with particular attention to the relationship with science parks-incubators and their importance as brand names. Evidence is taken from Turin case-study. Turin has a consolidated university framework: the University and the Polytechnic are examples of success all around Europe. A particular characteristic of Turin is given by the presence of two science and technology parks and two incubators.


Research spin-offs Science parks Incubators Brand names Technology transfer 

JEL classification

O3 L2 



The author thanks the Centre de Recherche en Gestion (CRG) de l’Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, and the Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth, Italian National Research Council (Ceris-CNR), Moncalieri-Turin, for the hospitality provided during this research work. She is also grateful to Pierre-Jean Benghozi and Jean-Michel Dalle for their helpful suggestions. Financial support from the Italian National Research Council (CNR) under the ‘Promotion of Research 2005’ programme is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. Akerlof, G. A. (1970). The market for “lemons”: Quality uncertainty and the market mechanism. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 84(3), 488–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ananth, M. S. (2009). Indian science and technology parks. In C. W. Wessner (Ed.), Understanding research, science and technology parks: Global best practice: Report of a symposium (pp. 61–66). National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  3. ANGLE Technology. (2003). Evaluation of the past and future economic contribution of the UK science park movement. London: UKSPA.Google Scholar
  4. Autio, E. (1997). New, technology-based firms in innovation networks symplectic and generative impacts. Research Policy, 26(3), 263–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Autio, E., & Lumme, A. (1998). Does the innovator role affect the perceived potential for growth? Analysis of four types of new, technology-based firms. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 10(1), 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Autio, E., & Yli-Renko, H. (1998). New, technology-based firms in small open economies—an analysis based on the Finnish experience. Research Policy, 26(9), 973–987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Balconi, M., Breschi, S., & Lissoni, F. (2002). Il Trasferimento di Conoscenze Tecnologiche dall’Università all’Industria in Italia: Nuova Evidenza sui Brevetti di Paternità dei Docenti, Dipartimento di Economia Politica e Metodi Quantitativi, Università degli Studi di Pavia.Google Scholar
  8. Baldini, N., Grimaldi, R., & Sobrero, M. (2007). Diffusion of organisational practices in turbulent environments: An empirical analysis of university-level patent regulations. Paper presented at the 2007 Academy of management meeting, Philadelphia, August 3–8.Google Scholar
  9. Benghozi, P.-J., Bureau, S., & Massit-Folléa, F. (2009). L’internet des objets: quels enjeux pour l’Europe ?, Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris.Google Scholar
  10. Benneworth, P., & Charles, D. (2004). University spin-off policies and economic development in less successful regions: Learning from two decades of policy practice. Paper presented at the conference Regionalization of innovation policy—options and experiences, Berlin, June 4–5.Google Scholar
  11. Calabrese, G., & Erbetta, F. (2005). Factors of performance in a context of market change: The automotive district of Turin. In F. Garibaldo & A. Bardi (Eds.), Company strategies and organisational evolution in the automotive sector: A worldwide perspective (pp. 213–250). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  12. Cantamessa, M. (2007). Come fare scouting di idee di impresa della ricerca. In M. Patrissi (Ed.), Ricerca, Spin-off, Incubatori: strategie ed opportunità per le università italiane (pp. 31–35). Torino: PNI Cube.Google Scholar
  13. Cesaroni, F., & Gambardella, A. (1999). Dai “contenitori” ai “contenuti”: i parchi scientifici e tecnologici in Italia. In C. Antonelli (Ed.), Conoscenza tecnologica: nuovi paradigmi dell’innovazione e specificità italiana. Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli: Torino.Google Scholar
  14. Chiesa, V., & Piccaluga, A. (2000). Exploitation and diffusion of public research: The case of academic spin-off companies in Italy. R&D Management, 30(4), 329–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clarysse, B., Lockett, A., Quince, T., & Van de Velde, E. (2002). Spinning off new ventures: A typology of facilitating services, Institute for the promotion of innovation by science and technology in Flanders. IWT-Observatory, Innovation, Science, Technology, 41.Google Scholar
  16. Clarysse, B., Wright, M., Lockett, A., Mustar, P., & Knockaert, M. (2007). Academic spin-offs, formal technology transfer and capital raising. Industrial and Corporate Change, 16(4), 609–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Colombo, M. G., & Delmastro, M. (2002). How effective are technology incubators? Evidence from Italy. Research Policy, 31(7), 1103–1122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Commission of the European Communities. (2003). The Role of the Universities in the Europe of Knowledge, Communication from the Commission COM (2003) 58 final, Brussels.Google Scholar
  19. Crimmins, J. C. (2000). Better measurement and management of brand value. Journal of Advertising Research, 40(6), 136–144.Google Scholar
  20. David, P. A. (2007). Innovation and Europe’s academic institutions—second thoughts about embracing the Bayh-Dole regime. In F. Malerba & S. et Brusoni (Eds.), Perspectives on innovation (pp. 251–278). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Davies, J. (2009). The English experience. In C. W. Wessner (Ed.), Understanding research, science and technology parks: Global best practice: Report of a symposium (pp. 70–74). National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  22. Degroof, J.-J., & Roberts, E. (2003). Spinning-off new ventures from academic institutions in areas with weak entrepreneurial infrastructure: Insights on the impact of spin-off processes on the growth-orientation of ventures. MIT Sloan School of Management, Working Paper 4311-03.Google Scholar
  23. Degroof, J.-J., & Roberts, E. (2004). Overcoming weak entrepreneurial infrastructures for academic spin-off ventures. MIT, Industrial Performance Center, Working Paper Series, MIT-IPC-04-005.Google Scholar
  24. Druilhe, C., & Garnsey, E. (2004). Do academic spin-outs differ and does it matter? Journal of Technology Transfer, 29(3–4), 269–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. European Trend Chart on Innovation. (2002). The changing role as public support to academic spin-offs, Policy Benchmarking Workshop, February 19–20, 2002, European Commission, Enterprise Directorate-General Innovation/SMEs Programme.Google Scholar
  26. Fan, Y. (2002). The national image of global brands. Brand Management, 9(3), 180–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ferguson, R., & Olofsson, C. (2004). Science parks and the development of NTBFs. Location, survival and growth. Journal of Technology Transfer, 29(1), 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fini, R., Grimaldi, R., & Sobrero, M. (2009). Factors fostering academics to start up new ventures: An assessment of Italian founders’incentives. Journal of Technology Transfer, 34(4), 380–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Franklin, S. J., Wright, M., & Lockett, A. (2001). Academic and surrogate entrepreneurs in university spin-out companies. Journal of Technology Transfer, 26(1–2), 127–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Goktepe, D., Etzkowitz, H. (2005). Towards an assisted linear model of innovation: An exploratory study of technology transfer offices in the USA. Paper presented at the conference: TripleHelix5, the capitalization of knowledge: Cognitive, economic, social & cultural aspects, May 18–21.Google Scholar
  31. Gupte, M. (2007). Success of university spin-offs. Network activities and moderating effects of internal communication and adhocracy. Kiel: Deutscher Universitats-Verlag.Google Scholar
  32. Hackett, S. M., & Dilts, D. M. (2004a). A real options-driven theory of business incubation. Journal of Technology Transfer, 29(1), 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hackett, S. M., & Dilts, D. M. (2004b). A systematic review of business incubation research. Journal of Technology Transfer, 29(1), 55–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Harrison, R. T., & Leitch, C. M. (2007). Dynamics of university spin-out companies: Entrepreneurial ventures or technology lifestyle businesses? In B. Clarysse, J. Roure, & T. Schamp (Eds.), Entrepreneurship and the financial community. Starting up and growing new businesses. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  35. Kohli, C., & LaBahn, D. W. (1997). Observations: Creating effective brand names: A study of the naming process. Journal of Advertising Research, 37(1), 67–75.Google Scholar
  36. Landry, R., Amara, N., & Rherrad, I. (2006). Why are some university researchers more likely to create spin-offs than others? Evidence from Canadian universities. Research Policy, 35(10), 1599–1615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Link, A. N. (2009). The evaluation challenge. In C. W. Wessner (Ed.), Understanding research, science and technology parks: Global best practice: Report of a symposium (pp. 117–120). National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  38. Link, A. N., & Link, K. R. (2003). On the growth of US science parks. Journal of Technology Transfer, 28(1), 81–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Link, A. N., & Scott, J. T. (2003). US science parks: The diffusion of an innovation and its effects on the academic missions of universities. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 21(9), 1323–1356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Link, A. N., & Scott, J. T. (2006). US university research parks. Journal of Productivity Analysis, 25(1–2), 43–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Link, A. N., & Scott, J. T. (2007). The economics of university research parks. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 23(4), 661–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lockett, A., Siegel, D., Wright, M., Ensley, M. (2005). The creation of spin-off firms at public research institutions: Managerial and policy implications. Research Policy, 34(7), 981–993.Google Scholar
  43. Lockett, A., Wright, M., & Franklin, S. (2003). Technology transfer and universities’spin-out strategies. Small Business Economics, 20(2), 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McDougall, P., & Oviatt, B. (1996). New venture internationalization, strategic change and performance: A follow-up study. Journal of Business Venturing, 11(1), 23–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. McMahan, R. (2009). The role of SBIR and state awards. In C. W. Wessner (Ed.), Understanding research, science and technology parks: Global best practice: Report of a symposium (pp. 114–117). National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  46. Mian, S. A. (1996). Assessing value-added contributions of university technology business incubators to tenant firms. Research Policy, 25(3), 325–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Moray, N., & Clarysse, B. (2005). Institutional change and resource endowments to science-based entrepreneurial firms. Research Policy, 34(7), 1010–1027.Google Scholar
  48. Mowery, D. C., & Sampat, B. N. (2005). Universities in national innovation systems. In J. Fagerberg, D. C. Mowery, & R. R. et Nelson (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of innovation (pp. 209–239). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Murray, F. (2004). The role as academic inventors in entrepreneurial firms: Sharing the laboratory life. Research Policy, 33(4), 643–659.Google Scholar
  50. Mustar, P. (1997). Spin-off enterprises. How French academics create hi-tech companies: The conditions for success or failure. Science and Public Policy, 24(1), 37–43.Google Scholar
  51. Mustar, P., Renault, M., Colombo, M., Piva, E., Fontes, M., Lockett, A., et al. (2006). Conceptualising the heterogeneity of research-based spin-offs: A multi-dimensional taxonomy. Research Policy, 35(2), 289–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. O’Shea, R. P., Allen, T. J., Chevalier, A., & Roche, F. (2005). Entrepreneurial orientation, technology transfer and spinoff performance of US universities. Research Policy, 34(7), 994–1009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. O’Sullivan, M. (2005). Finance and innovation. In J. Fagerberg, D. C. Mowery, & R. R. et Nelson (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of innovation (pp. 240–265). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Parry, M., & Russell, P. (Eds.). (2000). The planning, development and operation of science parks. UKSPA, Birmingham: The United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA).Google Scholar
  55. Pérez Pérez, M., & Sànchez, A. M. (2003). The development of university spin-offs: Early dynamics of technology transfer and networking. Technovation, 23(10), 823–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Phan, P. H. (2009). Importance of the right metrics. In C. W. Wessner (Ed.), Understanding research, science and technology parks: Global best practice: Report of a symposium (p. 67). National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  57. Piccaluga, A., & Balderi, C. (2006a). Consistenza ed Evoluzione delle Imprese Spin-off della Ricerca Pubblica in Italia. Finlombarda: IN-SAT Lab.Google Scholar
  58. Piccaluga, A., & Balderi, C. (2006b). La Valorizzazione della Ricerca nelle Università Italiane. Quarto Rapporto Annuale. NetVal, CRUI, ProTon Europe.Google Scholar
  59. Piedmont Region. (2004). DOCUP Piemonte.Google Scholar
  60. Piedmont Regional Council. (2006). Sistema regionale piemontese per la ricerca e l’innovazione. Linee generali di intervento (L.R. n. 4/2006, art. 4), Piedmont Region.Google Scholar
  61. Pirnay, F., Surlemont, B., & Nlemvo, F. (2003). Toward a typology of university spin-offs. Small Business Economics, 21(4), 355–369.Google Scholar
  62. Powers, J. B., & McDougall, P. (2005). Policy orientation effects on performance with licensing to start-ups and small companies. Research Policy, 34(7), 1028–1042.Google Scholar
  63. ProInnoEurope. (2006). European innovation scoreboard 2006. Comparative analysis of innovation performance. MERIT and Joint Research Centre.Google Scholar
  64. Roberts, E. (1991). High stakes for high-tech entrepreneurs: Understanding venture capital decision making. Sloan Management Review, 32(2), 9–20.Google Scholar
  65. Rothaermel, F. T., & Thursby, M. (2005). Incubator firm failure or graduation? The role as university linkages. Research Policy, 34(7), 1076–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rowe, D. (2002). Science parks in the United Kingdom today and tomorrow. APTE conference proceedings.Google Scholar
  67. Sancin, P. (Ed.). (1999). R&S, innovazione tecnologica e sviluppo del territorio: il ruolo dei parchi scientifici. Trieste: Area SciencePark.Google Scholar
  68. Schumpeter, J. (1934). The theory of economic development. Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Schwartz, M. (2009). Beyond incubation: An analysis of firm survival and exit dynamics in the post-graduation period. Journal of Technology Transfer, 34(4), 403–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Serazzi, G. (2005). University incubators. Journal of the Politecnico di Milano, (9), 18–31.Google Scholar
  71. Shane, S. (2004). Academic entrepreneurship. University spinoffs and wealth creation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  72. Shane, S., & Stuart, T. (2002). Organizational endowments and the performance of university start-ups. Management Science, 48(1), 154–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Siegel, D. S., Westhead, P., & Wright, M. (2003). Assessing the impact of science parks on the research productivity of firms: Exploratory evidence from the United Kingdom. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 21(9), 1335–1369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Siegel, D. S., Wright, M., & Lockett, A. (2007). The rise of entrepreneurial activity at universities: Organizational and societal implications. Industrial and Corporate Change, 16(4), 489–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sofouli, E., & Vonortas, N. S. (2007). S&T parks and business incubators in middle-sized countries: The case of Greece. Journal of Technology Transfer, 32(5), 525–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Squicciarini, M. (2008). Science parks’tenants versus out-of-park firms: Who innovates more? A duration model. Journal of Technology Transfer, 33(1), 45–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Stuart, T. E., Ozdemir, S. Z., & Ding, W. W. (2007). Vertical alliance networks: The case of university-biotechnology-pharmaceutical alliance chains. Research Policy, 36(4), 477–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Thursby, J., & Thursby, M. (2002). Who is selling the ivory tower? Sources of growth in university licensing. Management Science, 48(1), 90–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Verspagen, B. (2006). University research, intellectual property rights and european innovation systems. DIME Working Paper n. 2, Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies.Google Scholar
  80. Wessner, C. W. (Ed.). (2009). Understanding research, science and technology parks: Global best practice: Report of a symposium. National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  81. Wright, M., Birley, S., & Mosey, S. (2004a). Entrepreneurship and university technology transfer. Journal of Technology Transfer, 29(3–4), 235–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wright, M., Clarysse, B., Mustar, P., & Lockett, A. (2007). Academic entrepreneurship in Europe. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  83. Wright, M., Vohora, A., & Lockett, A. (2004b). The formation of high-tech university spinouts: The role as joint ventures and venture capital investors. Journal of Technology Transfer, 29(3–4), 287–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Zhang, J. (2009). The performance of university spin-offs: An exploratory analysis using venture capital data. Journal of Technology Transfer, 34(3), 255–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Programme in Institutions, Economics and Law (IEL), Collegio Carlo AlbertoUniversity of TurinMoncalieri, TurinItaly

Personalised recommendations