Chapter 13: Technology transfer and innovation in higher education governance: comparing conceptual understandings displayed by university performance agreements over time
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This chapter compares conceptual understandings and developments of Innovation and Technology Transfer by contrasting performance agreements of Austrian public universities between 2013–2015, 2016–2018 and 2019–2021. Keywords in this context are applied to quantitively analyze the documents and examine whether their frequency has increased or decreased. To gain an in-depth understanding of contexts in which keywords are embedded and to map changes of governance patterns over time, we specifically compare the concepts, “sustainability”, “innovation”, “technology transfer” and “entrepreneurship”. We purposefully selected four Austrian universities with different profiles (University of Vienna, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Technological University Graz and University for Continuing Education Krems) to further parse underlying notions. Results show that even though the concepts are used in all performance agreements, they display different understandings. Moreover, no university stands out positively or negatively in the dimension Technology transfer and Innovation. Instead, differences can be attributed to the level of individual activities and are not necessarily linked to the profile of the university.

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