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A typology of technology transfer ecosystems: how structure affects interactions at the science–market divide

Abstract

Alongside the increased efforts of universities to commercialize academic science, technology transfer (TT) ecosystems have developed within or close to research universities across the world. Such ecosystems are composed of various organizational entities, such as science parks, incubators, and TT offices. In this paper, we study the organizational structure of TT ecosystems in academia and develop a typology of these ecosystems. Furthermore, we assess how the organizational structure of TT ecosystems affects within-ecosystem interactions. Taking a qualitative, comparative case study approach of eight different universities in Scandinavia, we investigate several elements of organizational structure, including ownership, governance, size, internal structure, and physical location. Based on our analysis, we develop a typology consisting of three types of ecosystems, the introverted, externalized and allied TT ecosystems, and find that within-ecosystem interactions differ significantly across the three types, providing important implications for an ecosystem’s ability to balance both science and market orientation. We discuss the contributions of our findings for theory and practice and identify avenues for future research.

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Acknowledgements

This paper is part of a Ph.D. research fellowship at the University of Oslo and all funds are provided by the University of Oslo.

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Correspondence to Matthew Good.

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Good, M., Knockaert, M. & Soppe, B. A typology of technology transfer ecosystems: how structure affects interactions at the science–market divide. J Technol Transf 45, 1405–1431 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-019-09745-w

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Keywords

  • Technology transfer
  • Ecosystems
  • Organizational structure
  • Interaction
  • Research commercialization
  • Academic entrepreneurship

JEL Classification

  • O32
  • L2
  • L3
  • M13
  • P00