Governance typology of universities' technology transfer processes

Anja Schoen, Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Joachim Henkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Despite the growing interest in university-to-industry technology transfer, there are very few studies on the governance of universities' technology transfer offices (TTOs). The few existing ones tend to focus on US universities and generally tackle one dimension of the governance. The present paper aims at contributing to this literature in two ways. First, it takes into account the diversity of organizational models with a theoretical perspective: the paper presents a discussion on which combinations of four structural dimensions should yield viable configurations. Four main types of TTOs are identified: (1) classical TTO; (2) autonomous TTO; (3) discipline-integrated Technology Transfer Alliance; and (4) discipline-specialized Technology Transfer Alliance. Second, the paper relies on 16 case studies of universities located in six European countries in order to address the pros and cons of the four types of TTOs. The results provide both a conceptual understanding and an empirical overview of how universities organize their technology transfer and intellectual property management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-453
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Academic patents
  • Governance
  • Organizational structure
  • Technology transfer offices


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