How Technology and Entrepreneurship are Shaping the Development of Industries and Companies
Edited by François Thérin
Chapter 13: The role of the technology transfer office in promoting university-industry collaboration
Since the introduction of the Bayh-Dole Act (1980), the issue of university-industry collaboration has been the focus of increasing attention amongst policy-makers and academics in the United States. The literature pertaining to university-industry collaboration is extensive and pertains to a range of formal and informal interactions and practices between actors in the academic and industrial arenas. Upon investigation, university-industry collaboration emerges as a complex field of enquiry, involving a diverse web of formal and informal processes, mechanisms and outputs, impacted by a mix of national, institutional, organizational and individual contexts, objectives and dynamics. Additionally, scholarly contributions to the study of university-industry collaboration have their origins in a diverse range of academic disciplines including management, economics, sociology and anthropology. Hence, the field of university-industry collaboration is a complex kaleidoscope providing a rich environment for study. However, while the general topic of technology transfer has a distinctive contemporary relevance and importance, there is a need for clearer and deeper consideration of its theoretical antecedents. Therefore, the chapter proceeds by reviewing the literature on the key actor in the technology transfer process, the technology transfer office (TTO), to deliver an understanding and appreciation of the competing schools of thought. The TTO can be rationalized as an ëideological and market-driven form of academic capitalismí but that is only one small understanding, and not one that is actually very helpful for public policy objectives.
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