The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 1134–1162 | Cite as

Mapping the emergence of international university research ventures

  • Sergey KolesnikovEmail author
  • Seokkyun Woo
  • Yin Li
  • Philip Shapira
  • Jan Youtie


Research universities are expanding their institutional research presence overseas through the creation of research centers, facilities and partnerships outside of their home countries. We argue that such international university research ventures (IURV) are a distinct type of intermediary node in global knowledge networks occurring at the intersection of three trends: (1) expanding international research collaborations, (2) globalization of higher education, and (3) growing demand for capacity building in science, technology and innovation in emerging economies. To understand and characterize the scope and scale of this phenomenon we undertake an exploratory study of IURVs of 108 research-intensive universities in the United States. Data on U.S. IURV locations and their characteristics is collected from university websites and other secondary sources. We find that 54 U.S. research universities have established at least one IURV, with 183 IURVs in total created in 59 countries. A conceptual framework based on motivations and pathways of IURV emergence is developed. It distinguishes between strategy-driven, collaboration-driven, policy-driven and problem-driven IURVs. Insights from the mapping of U.S. IURVs are discussed, along with implications for future research.


University internationalization Globalization of R&D Global knowledge networks Joint research venture 

JEL Classification

I23 L24 O19 O32 



The research reported here is based upon work supported by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Office through the Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative under grant #W911-NF- 15-1-0322. Sergey Kolesnikov worked on the project while at the School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology. We are grateful to Juan Rogers and Mark Zachary Taylor for helpful comments and to Jon Schmid and Olufunke Adebola for additional research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Organization Research and DesignArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Enterprise Innovation InstituteGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Alliance Manchester Business SchoolUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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