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Chapter 9: Determinants and Consequences of University Spin-off Activity: A Conceptual Framework
9 Determinants and consequences of university spin-oﬀ activity: a conceptual framework Rory O’Shea Introduction The rapid rate of technological change, shorter product life cycles and more intense global competition has radically transformed the current competitive position of many regional economies. With the drive to generate knowledge-based employment opportunities, policy makers are now placing a greater emphasis on the role of universities in the commercialization of scientiﬁc and technological knowledge produced within research laboratories. This increased emphasis on technology transfer from universities to industry and the need to develop more ‘rapid’ linkages between science, technology and utilization (Allen, 1977, 1997) has led to the emergence of a number of entrepreneurial initiatives within academic institutions. The term ‘entrepreneurial university’ was coined by Etzkowitz (1998) to describe instances in which universities have proved themselves critical to regional economic development. Although some authors refer to European universities (Chiesa and Piccaluga, 2000; Jones-Evans et al., 1999), the case of MIT is the reference example (Etzkowitz, 2002; Roberts, 1991). By encouraging faculty members to pursue private ventures outside the research lab, the Bank of Boston (1997) calculated that MIT start-up companies generated $240 billion worth of sales per year and provided an additional 1.1 million new jobs for the US economy. Another known example cited in the literature relates to the University of Texas at Austin in promoting the emergence of the city of Austin, Texas, as a technopolis. UT-Austin contributed to local economic development by launching and running one of the most successful business...
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