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.
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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.
With relationship drivers primarily relating to collaborating with business for the purposes of research, it could be expected that high relationship drivers may positively impact the extent of UBC, however for entrepreneurial behaviour by academics, an individual pursuit for the creation of business, may indeed have a negative influence. As such it is anticipated that relationship drivers will have a significant but negative relationship with academic entrepreneurship.
An erratum to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10961-016-9547-7.
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Davey, T., Rossano, S. & van der Sijde, P. Does context matter in academic entrepreneurship? The role of barriers and drivers in the regional and national context. J Technol Transf 41, 1457–1482 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-015-9450-7