Performance of technology transfer offices in Germany
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The aim of this study is to empirically analyze the performance of technology transfer offices (TTO) in Germany. Although being one of the largest and innovative economies in the world, there is only scarce evidence about the role and performance of TTO in university–industry technology transfer. While policy makers and university managers are often quite optimistic about the impact of TTO in fostering technology transfer into the region, consulting firms and research institutes report such institutions in Germany as superfluous and counterproductive. Using the number of invention disclosures as a performance measure, we analyze how variance in performance can be explained by different organizational structures and variables of TTO. Controlling for regional endowment and university specific effects, our results reveal that TTO performance is mainly a function of the kind of labor division within the TTO and the research intensity of the university. Knowing the drivers of TTO performance may help policy makers and university managers to reflect their strategies, mitigate weak points and thus foster performance.
JEL ClassificationD23 L38 O32
KeywordsTechnology transfer offices Division of labor University/industry technology transfer Organization Germany
The authors wish to acknowledge financial support from the Global Business Management Center (GBM) University Augsburg. They also acknowledge the helpful comments from seminar participations at the UfO-Workshop on Business & Economics, Tuscany/Italy (2010), the workshop on Technology Transfer and Regional Competitiveness, Bergamo/Italy (2011), the annual conference of the T2S, George Washington University/USA (2010) and helpful suggestions from Alfredo Di Massis, Tommaso Minola, Michele Meoli, Silvio Vismara and two anonymous referees.
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