The Comparative Role of TTOs and Individual Level Behavior of Academics to Explain Academic Entrepreneurship

2011, Research Policy, 40(8), 1084-1093

Bart Clarysse, Valentina Tartari and Ammon Salter 

Although sources and determinants of academic entrepreneurship have begun to command the attention of policy-makers and researchers, there remain many unanswered questions about how individual and social factors shape the decisions of academics to engage in entrepreneurial activities. Using a large-scale panel of academics from a variety of UK universities from 2001 to 2009, this paper examines how an academics’ level of entrepreneurial capacity in terms of opportunity recognition capacity, and their prior entrepreneurial experience shape the likelihood of them being involved in starting up a new venture. In addition, we explore what role university Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) play in stimulating venture creation. The results show that individual-level attributes and experience are the most important predictors of academic entrepreneurship. We also find that the social environment surrounding the academic also plays an influential role, but its role is much less pronounced than individual-level factors. Finally, we show that the activities of the TTO play only a marginal, indirect role, in driving academics to start new ventures. We explore the implications of this analysis for policy and organizational design for academic entrepreneurship.

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