Small Business Economics

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 589–607 | Cite as

Are researchers deliberately bypassing the technology transfer office? An analysis of TTO awareness

  • Annelore Huyghe
  • Mirjam Knockaert
  • Evila Piva
  • Mike Wright


Most universities committed to the commercialization of academic research have established technology transfer offices (TTOs). Nonetheless, many researchers bypass these TTOs and take their inventions directly to the marketplace. While TTO bypassing has typically been portrayed as deliberate and undesirable behavior, we argue that it could be unintentional as many researchers may simply be unaware of the TTO’s existence. Taking an information-processing perspective and using data on 3250 researchers in 24 European universities, we examine researcher attributes associated with TTO awareness. Our evidence confirms that only a minority of researchers are aware of the existence of a TTO at their university. TTO awareness is greater among researchers who possess experience as entrepreneurs, closed many research and consulting contracts with industry partners, conduct research in medicine, engineering or life sciences, or occupy postdoctoral positions. Policy implications of these findings are discussed.


TTO awareness TTO bypassing Information-processing Knowledge corridor Entrepreneurial universities 

JEL Classifications

L26 M13 O32 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annelore Huyghe
    • 1
  • Mirjam Knockaert
    • 2
    • 3
  • Evila Piva
    • 4
  • Mike Wright
    • 5
    • 2
  1. 1.Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship ResearchQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.University of OsloOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of Management, Economics and Industrial EngineeringPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  5. 5.Imperial College Business SchoolLondonUK

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