Academic entrepreneurs and technology transfer: Who participates and why?

Janet Bercovitz, Maryann Feldman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


According to Schumpeter, innovation is about entrepreneurship: the implementation of new ideas that change established procedures and alter organizational practices (1934). While the idea of creative destruction is compelling, there are few opportunities to observe the characteristics of change agents in situations where new practices emerge. University technology transfer – the realization of commercial value from university research – presents such an opportunity. While universities are an important source of invention and new knowledge, there is great variation across universities in the commercial realization of academic discoveries (Nelson, 2001). This result is understandable when we consider that university technology transfer has only become a formal activity for most universities in the United States in the last twenty-five years. In this regard, a series of changes marked by the passage of the 1980 Patent and Trademark Law Amendment Act (P1 96–517), commonly known as the Bayh–Dole Act, represent gales of change as universities embrace new objectives that value active technology commercialization over older routines that promoted passive knowledge diffusion. However, the commercial realization of academic discoveries is ultimately dependent on the personal decisions and actions of the faculty, as faculty invention disclosures form the basis for university patents and subsequent licenses. Though the Bayh–Dole Act specifies that faculty members are to disclose their inventions to the university technology-transfer office, enforcement of this requirement has proven difficult. When individual faculty members choose to disclose their discoveries to the university's technology-transfer office, they signal that they are entrepreneurial in adopting the new initiative that aids in the transfer of knowledge out of the university to established companies or to use in the formation of new companies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Innovation
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780511618390
ISBN (Print)9780521866644
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance


Dive into the research topics of 'Academic entrepreneurs and technology transfer: Who participates and why?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this