Toward a model of the effective transfer of scientific knowledge from academicians to practitioners: qualitative evidence from the commercialization of university technologies
D. Siegel. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management21 (1-2):
A new organizational entity has emerged at research universities: the technology transfer office (TTO). TTOs were established to facilitate commercial knowledge transfers from universities to practitioners or university/industry technology transfer (UITT). Despite the potential importance of UITT in fostering technological diffusion and as a source of revenue to the university, there has been little systematic analysis of the role of organizational practices in this process. Thus, we rely on an inductive, qualitative approach to identify the key organizational issues in promoting successful knowledge transfers. Based on 55 structured interviews of 98 UITT stakeholders associated with five US research universities, we conclude that there are numerous impediments to effectiveness in UITT: cultural and informational barriers among the three key stakeholder types (university administrators, academics, and firms/entrepreneurs), TTO staffing and compensation practices, and inadequate rewards for faculty involvement in UITT. Two somewhat surprising results are that many faculty members have decided to circumvent the formal UITT process and that involvement in UITT may actually increase the quantity and quality of basic research.