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Sam Horner and Benito Giordano

The important role that universities may play in stimulating entrepreneurial activity is increasingly emphasized within academic and policy discourses. Specifically, it is recognized that interactions between academic institutions and commercial organizations may facilitate entrepreneurial activities such as licensing, spin-off formation, academic consulting and sponsored research. This chapter explores how a university–industry partnership facilitated the development of an open innovation platform. The case of Unilever and the University of Liverpool is explored to highlight the ways in which open approaches to partnership can facilitate innovation and entrepreneurial activity. It is argued that universities can contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship beyond the formal transfer of intellectual property rights. Specifically, we suggest that the co-creation of open innovation platforms may be a more effective stimulant for regional innovation and entrepreneurship than the formal transfer of IP, which has been the predominant focus in much of the extant literature regarding academic entrepreneurship.