Understanding University Industry Technology Transfer: Relationship Management Approaches of Leading Universities in Europe And USA

  • Received : 2015.03.29
  • Accepted : 2015.05.19
  • Published : 2015.06.30


The importance of university technology transfer has widely been brought to the center of attention over the last decades. Research and practice thereby often concentrate on issues related to patenting and licensing or entrepreneurship but abstract away from relationship- and network-focused initiatives. In this paper, we argue that efforts to systematically develop close, long-term collaboration partnerships - although complex and resource intensive - are likely to be more beneficial for both universities and industry in the long run. Drawing on data derived from interviews with technology transfer executives of 22 leading European and U.S. universities, we analyze and discuss well-established practices of network and relationship management and their possible impact on technology transfer success. Our findings indicate that dedicated relationship management approaches can yield a sustainable competitive advantage for universities. We thereby shift the focus away from transaction-orientation towards more forward-looking relationship-centric approaches and discuss their institutionalization in great detail.


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