University-industry technology transfer : a systems approach with policy implications

Hallam, Cory R.A. and Wurth, Bernd and Mancha, Ruben (2014) University-industry technology transfer : a systems approach with policy implications. International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 13 (1-2). pp. 57-79. ISSN 1741-5284 (

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The purpose of this paper is to provide a systems perspective of the university-industry technology transfer (UITT) process. Departing from the traditional linear approach to technology transfer, we build a model capturing interactions between a selected number of technology transfer channels and variables endogenous to the technology transfer process. The relationships identified in the model demonstrate that the UITT process and its impact extend well beyond the traditional scope of the university technology transfer offices. A narrow view of the process, one focused on short-term revenue maximisation principles, is inadequate due to secondary system elements that can impact technology commercialisation outcomes. The model suggests, when deciding on licensing, consulting or collaborative research agreements, universities should account for their reputation for technology transfer and R&D as key assets. We show that a technology transfer policy that relaxes licensing terms in favour of industry can have multi-path positive feedbacks on university success.