Title: Technology transfer offices as a nexus within the triple helix: the progression of the university's role

Authors: Will Geoghegan; Conor O'Kane; Ciara Fitzgerald

Addresses: Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University, 721 University Ave., Syracuse, NY 13244, USA ' Department of Management, University of Otago, 60 Clyde Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand ' Financial Services Innovation Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Abstract: The prospect of increased revenue and spillovers has influenced the mission of the university to reflect an increasingly commercial orientation. This paper focuses on university commercialisation in three countries (Ireland, New Zealand and the USA), through 58 semi-structured interviews with technology transfer officers and a quantitative assessment of university patenting trajectories. Using interviews with technology transfer office executives and university patent applications as proxies for commercial orientation, the study uncovers explanations to the heterogeneous commercial orientation apparent in all three regions. Findings indicate that path dependency; university leadership; technology transfer office scale and connectivity are critical determinants of commercial orientation. The paper concludes by surmising how path dependency might strongly dictate the other determinants and outlines some implications for literature and policy development.

Keywords: university commercialisation; technology transfer offices; triple helix; university industry collaboration; university roles; revenue growth; spillover effects; Ireland; New Zealand; USA; United States; patenting trajectories; university patents; commercial orientation; path dependency; university leadership; scale; connectivity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2015.069660

International Journal of Technology Management, 2015 Vol.68 No.3/4, pp.255 - 277

Received: 03 Jul 2013
Accepted: 05 May 2014

Published online: 29 May 2015 *

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