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Beyond formal university technology transfer: innovative pathways for knowledge exchange

Abstract

University technology transfer is often associated with formal transmission of science-based inventions, for instance through the licensing of patented technology to a firm. Formal conceptions of technology transfer limit our ability to understand fully how scientific knowledge evolves into industrial and social application. In this introductory article, we discuss how knowledge is shared and accessed across boundaries, and argue for a broader conceptualization including the transfer, translation, and transformation of knowledge. This view underlies a necessary conceptual shift from formal technology transfer to a more encompassing conception of pathways for knowledge exchange. We discuss promising avenues for extending research on university technology transfer relating to broadening the set of pathways considered, exploring the interplay of pathways, examining new pathways, including broader outcomes and impacts, and methodological challenges in measuring knowledge exchange. Finally, we summarize the empirical papers in the special section and how they contribute to a wider understanding of the exchange of university knowledge.

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Correspondence to Christopher S. Hayter.

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Hayter, C.S., Rasmussen, E. & Rooksby, J.H. Beyond formal university technology transfer: innovative pathways for knowledge exchange. J Technol Transf 45, 1–8 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-018-9677-1

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Keywords

  • University technology transfer
  • Alternative models
  • Technology commercialization
  • Knowledge exchange

JEL Classification

  • 032
  • 034
  • D82