Technology transfer offices and academic spin-off creation: the case of Italy
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Over the past decades, university-industry relationships have become an important subject due to the essential role played by technological progress in the economic development of countries. From a theoretical point of view, several studies have shown the close relationship between investments in research and innovative activities of universities and the economic growth of specific territories. Indeed, the strong linkages between universities and a country’s production system encourage the process of technology transfer and the commercial use of the research results. For this reason, the European Union has implemented a series of measures to promote the adoption of research findings in the real economic and social context, strengthening the linkages between universities, industries and government. As a starting point for enhancing this link, specific mechanisms have been devised by universities. In particular, technology transfer offices (TTOs) have been created to stimulate and encourage the dissemination of the research outcomes, translate them into practise, and facilitate their interrelations with the other two agents of the innovation systems: industries and government. Within this context, the present paper aims to gain knowledge on the determinants of spin-off creation in Italy with special attention to the role played by university TTOs. Specifically, an econometric probability model has been built merging the extant literature into four distinct strands. The analysis, based on the NetVal indicators and primary data survey, has allowed us to assess the Italian experience at an aggregate and disaggregate level.
KeywordsTechnology transfer Spin-offs Academic entrepreneurship
JEL classificationC01 O30 O31 O32
We are grateful to the comments and suggestions offered by the Editor-in-Chief of this Journal Al Link and two anonymous referees. We would like to thank the participants at the European Network on Industrial Policy (EUNIP) Conference (“Evaluating Innovation Policy: Methods and Applications”), held in Florence, Italy, 5–6 May, 2011 for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Financial support from the Region of Calabria (Scientific Research Program CALCOM on “Regional Competitiveness and Innovation”) is grateful acknowledged.
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