Outsourcing University Research Commercialization to a Sophisticated Technology Transfer Office: Evidence From Australian Universities
57 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2022 Last revised: 18 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 11, 2022
A better understanding of how university technology transfer can be effectively achieved is critical for increasing the impact of academic research and driving innovation and economic growth. Considering this and the rapidly growing public policy attention on university-generated technology transfer, we provide evidence on the effect of outsourcing commercialization tasks on technology transfer performance based on a quasi-natural experiment. Using both qualitative and data-driven methods, we find that universities which outsourced to an established tech-transfer office of another university saw a greater opportunity for academics to engage with research commercialization and experienced a short-term increase in the capture of new discoveries and provisional patent filings. However, with respect to the more popular indicators of successful commercialization, patent applications, granted patents, license deals, and start-ups created, we find no evidence of an increase. Postoutsourcing we see evidence of a sustained advantage in some technology transfer activities, indicating a learning effect from engaging with a more experienced tech-transfer office.
Keywords: Technology transfer, Outsourcing, University research commercialization
JEL Classification: I23, O32
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