Chapter 3: The role of researchers’ motivations in the genesis of academic spin-off companies
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Spin-off companies play a key role in the mechanisms that universities enact to extract the industrial and commercial potential of the outcomes of scientific knowledge (Rothaermel et al., 2007). Ventures founded by scientists to exploit their discoveries and inventions are a powerful driver of innovation and economic growth, and represent a source of industrial change (Shane, 2004). For these reasons, science policy includes technology transfer among the “missions” of scientific profession, together with research and teaching (Etzkowitz, 2003).The activation of entrepreneurial process in academia is contingent on the interplay of factors at three distinct levels (Grimaldi et al., 2011): national and regional system of innovation, university strategy, and individual determinants. The literature has focused mainly on the first two dimensions, while the amount of attention given to the drivers for individual determinants is more scarce and recent (for example Colyvas and Powell, 2007; Jain et al., 2009; Clarysse et al., 2011).

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