The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1457–1482 | Cite as

Does context matter in academic entrepreneurship? The role of barriers and drivers in the regional and national context

  • Todd Davey
  • Sue RossanoEmail author
  • Peter van der Sijde


With pressure on universities to better contribute to society, academic entrepreneurship is an increasingly recognised source of new knowledge and technologies as well as being a driver of the movement to a knowledge society. However, whilst growing, the level of academic entrepreneurship in Europe is still relatively low. Two reasons that are factors influencing this are inhibitors (barriers) and facilitators (drivers), however the understanding of how their interplay influences academic entrepreneurship, particularly across different context is lacking. For this reason, this study focussed on two environmental settings, European regions and countries, seeking to understand if it is the hurdle (barrier) or (and/or) tail-wind (drivers) that most impacts academic entrepreneurship and how does the regional or national context influence this. An online survey was translated into 22 languages and undertaken in 33 countries in Europe and the European Economic Area. From the original data set, 12 countries in four European regions provided a sample of 2925 responses, with a second step to focus on four ‘lead’ countries within those regions. The results show that there is a significant difference in the university-business cooperation barriers and drivers that effect academic entrepreneurship in the European regions. Furthermore, different barriers and drivers were found to significantly affect the four lead countries with barriers and drivers being able to provide a good explanation of the extent of academic entrepreneurship in the UK and Germany, and a limited explanation of entrepreneurial activity by Spanish and Polish academics. Overall the article contributes to the literature of resource-based theory and also the understanding of factors influencing European academic entrepreneurship.


Academic entrepreneurship University-business cooperation Spin-outs Knowledge transfer University 

JEL Classification

L26 M13 O31 O32 



Many thanks to Victoria Galan-Muros for her input into the paper and also to the DG Education & Culture from the European Commission for their funding of the study on the cooperation between HEIs and public and private organisations in Europe, which contributed to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd Davey
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sue Rossano
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Peter van der Sijde
    • 3
  1. 1.Science-to-Business Marketing Research CentreMünster University of Applied SciencesMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Faculty of Social SciencesVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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