The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 376–392 | Cite as

Entrepreneurship research centers around the world: research orientation, knowledge transfer and performance

  • Lucio Cassia
  • Alfredo De Massis
  • Michele Meoli
  • Tommaso MinolaEmail author


This work investigates entrepreneurship research centers, and analyzes their research performance. Studies on the determinants of performance of research centers have mainly focused on science and technology, while entrepreneurship has been so far neglected. Through an analysis of 46 centers worldwide, we focus on entrepreneurship research and the role of centers, by discussing how knowledge transfer mechanisms and research orientation affect research performance. Our findings contribute to shed light on the divergence of methodologies and approaches characterizing entrepreneurship research; they also corroborate the view that centers enable a “compound Matthew-effect”, according to which knowledge transfer to external stakeholders, after controlling for research orientation of the center, does foster and enrich research performance.


Entrepreneurship Research centers Science and technology policy Knowledge transfer Research performance Research orientation 

JEL Classification

O32 I23 I28 L26 


  1. Albarrán, P., Crespo, J. A., Ortuño, I., & Ruiz-Castillo, J. (2010). A comparison of the scientific performance of the U.S. and the European Union at the Turn of the 21st century. Scientometrics, 85(1), 329–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Audretsch, D. B., Hülsbeck, M., & Lehman, E. E. (2012). Regional competitiveness, university spillovers, and entrepreneurial activity. Small Business Economics, 39(3), 587–601.Google Scholar
  3. Audretsch, D. B., Keilbach, M. C., & Lehmann, E. E. (2006). Entrepreneurship and economic growth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Audretsch, D. B., & Lehman, E. E. (2005). Does the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship hold for regions? Research Policy, 34(8), 1191–1202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Azagra-Caro, J. M., Archontakis, F., & Yegros–Yegros, A. (2007). In which regions do universities patent and publish more? Scientometrics, 70(2), 251–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Babu, A. R., & Singh, Y. P. (1998). Determinants of research productivity. Scientometrics, 43(3), 309–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benoit, K., & Marsh, M. (2009). A relative impact ranking of political studies in Ireland. The Economic and Social Review, 40(3), 269–298.Google Scholar
  8. Boardman, C., & Gray, D. (2010). The new science and engineering management: cooperative research centers as government policies, industry strategies, and organizations. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 35(5), 445–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowers, M. R., & Alon, I. (2010). An exploratory comparison of US and international academically based entrepreneurship centres. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 5(2), 115–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bozeman, B., & Boardman, P. C. (2003). Managing the new multipurpose, Multidiscipline University Research Centers: Institutional Innovation in the Academic Community. Washington, DC: IBM Center for the Business of Governmen.Google Scholar
  11. Cassia, L., & Minola, T. (2012). Hyper-growth of SMEs: Toward a reconciliation of entrepreneurial orientation and strategic resources. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 18(2), 179–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chandler, G., & Lyon, D. (2001). Issues of research design and construct measurement in entrepreneurship research: The past decade. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 25(4), 101–113.Google Scholar
  13. Chawla, A., & Singh, J. P. (1998). Organizational environment and performance of research groups—A typological analysis. Scientometrics, 43(3), 373–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Coberly, B., & Gray, D. O. (2010). Cooperative research centers and faculty satisfaction: a multi-level predictive analysis. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 35(5), 547–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Coccia, M. (2009). Research performance and bureaucracy within public research labs. Scientometrics, 79(1), 93–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cornelius, B., Landström, H., & Persson, O. (2006). Entrepreneurial studies: The dynamic research front of a developing social science. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30(3), 375–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crespo, M., & Dridi, H. (2007). Intensification of university–industry relationships and its impact on academic research. Higher Education, 54(1), 61–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davidsson, P., Low, M. B., & Wright, M. (2001). Editor’s introduction: Low and MacMillan ten years on: Achievements and future directions for entrepreneurship research. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 25(4), 5–15.Google Scholar
  19. Davis, D. D., & Bryant, J. L. (2010). Leader-member exchange, trust, and performance in national science foundation industry/university cooperative research centers. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 35(5), 511–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. De Massis, A., Minola, T., & Viviani, D. (2012). Entrepreneurial learning in Italian high-tech start-ups: An exploratory study. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 11(1), 94–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Finkle, T. A. (2005). A review of trends in the market for entrepreneurship faculty from 1989–2004. In frontiers of entrepreneurship research, 2005. In S. Zahra et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the twenty-fifth annual entrepreneurship research conference. Wellesley, MA: AMBCE.Google Scholar
  22. Finkle, T. A. (2007). A comparative analysis of US versus international entrepreneurship centers. In 21st Proceedings of the annual national United States association for small business and entrepreneurship conference, 125.Google Scholar
  23. Finkle, T. A., Kuratko, D. F., & Goldsby, M. G. (2006). An examination of entrepreneurship centers in the United States: A national survey. Journal of Small Business Management, 44(2), 184–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Guan, J., & Wang, G. (2010). A comparative study of research performance in nanotechnology for China’s inventor–authors and their non-inventing peers. Scientometrics, 84(2), 339–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gulbrandsen, M., & Smeby, J. C. (2005). Industry funding and university professors’ research performance. Research Policy, 34(6), 932–950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hayton, J. C., Sehili, S., & Scarpello, V. (2010). Why do firms join cooperative R&D consortia? An integrative empirical analysis. Journal of Technology Transfer, 35(5), 494–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hjorth, D. (2008). Nordic entrepreneurship research. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 32(2), 313–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hülsbeck, M., Lehmann, E. E., & Starnecker, A. (2011). Performance of technology transfer offices in Germany. The Journal of Technology Transfer. doi: 10.1007/s10961-011-9243-6.
  29. Hunt, J. G., & Blair, J. D. (1987). Content, process, and the Matthew effect among management academics. Journal of Management, 13, 191–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jaffe, A. (1998). The real effects of academic research. American Economic Review, 79(5), 957–970.Google Scholar
  31. Katz, J. A. (1991). The institution and infrastructure of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 15(3), 85–102.Google Scholar
  32. Katz, J. A. (2004). 2004 Survey of endowed positions in entrepreneurship and related fields in the United States. Report sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation 1–45.Google Scholar
  33. Maclean, J., & Janagap, C. (1993). The publication productivity of international agricultural research centers. Scientometrics, 28(3), 329–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mansfield, E. (1991). Academic research and industrial innovation. Research Policy, 20, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Menzies, T. V. (2009). University-based Entrepreneurship Centers: Frameworks for Analysis. In 23rd Proceedings of the annual national United States association for small business and entrepreneurship conference, 872.Google Scholar
  36. Meoli, M., Paleari, S., & Vismara, S. (2012). Completing the technology transfer process: the M&As of science-based IPOs. Small Business Economics. doi: 10.1007/s11187-012-9416-1.
  37. Merton, R. K. (1988). The Matthew effect in science. II. Cumulative advantage and the symbolism of intellectual property. ISIS, 79, 606–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ranga, L. M., Debackere, K., & Von Tunzelmann, N. (2003). Entrepreneurial universities and the dynamics of academic knowledge production: A case study of basic vs. applied research in Belgium. Scientometrics, 58(2), 301–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Roessner, D., Manrique, L., & Park, J. (2010). The economic impact of engineering research centers: Preliminary results of a pilot study. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 35(5), 475–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ruane, F. P., & Tol, R. S. J. (2007). Centres of research excellence in economics in the republic of Ireland. The Economic and Social Review, 38(3), 289–322.Google Scholar
  41. Sandberg, W. R., & Gatewood, E. J. (1991). A profile of entrepreneurship research centers: Orientations, interests, activities, and resources. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 15(3), 11–24.Google Scholar
  42. Su, X. H. (2011). Postdoctoral training, departmental prestige and scientists’ research productivity. Journal of Technology Transfer, 36(3), 275–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Upton, N. (1997). Successful experiences of entrepreneurship center directors. Kansas City, MO: Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Inc., Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Baylor University.Google Scholar
  44. Van Looy, B., Ranga, M., Callaert, J., Debackere, K., & Zimmermannc, E. (2004). Combining entrepreneurial and scientific performance in academia: Towards a compounded and reciprocal Matthew-effect? Research Policy, 33(3), 425–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Walberg, H. J., & Tsai, S. (1983). Matthew effects in education. American Educational Research Journal, 20, 359–373.Google Scholar
  46. Welter, F., & Lasch, F. (2008). Entrepreneurship research in Europe: Taking stock and looking forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 32(2), 241–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wong, P. K., & Singh, A. (2010). University patenting activities and their link to the quantity and quality of scientific publications. Scientometrics, 83(1), 271–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucio Cassia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alfredo De Massis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michele Meoli
    • 1
    • 3
  • Tommaso Minola
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of EngineeringUniversity of BergamoDalmineItaly
  2. 2.Center for Young and Family Enterprise (CYFE)University of BergamoDalmineItaly
  3. 3.CisAlpino Institute for Comparative Studies in Europe (CCSE)University of AugsburgAugsburgGermany

Personalised recommendations