University research and offices of technology transfer

Gregory Graff*, Amir Heiman, David Zilberman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Both universities and firms are engaged in the same overarching dynamic technological innovation processes. All researchers pursue a combination of the three Fs of fame, fortune, and freedom regardless of whether they are "academic" or "corporate." It is the different alignments of incentives and constraints that induce academic researchers to have a comparative advantage in some kinds of innovation and those in commercial R&D to have a comparative advantage in other kinds of innovation. This results in a division of innovative labor and creates opportunities for gains to be made from trade in technologies. Offices of technology transfer were created to improve this flow of trade between university research and industry by patenting and marketing university research results and fostering startups using university technologies. This article examines the business of technology transfer. The extent of university patenting is still very small relative to industry, and technology transfer revenues are still very small relative to university research budgets. While university technology transfer is growing rapidly, the policy foundations and the marketing models on which it is built will need to evolve further to better fit the underlying economic realities of the dynamic technological innovation processes they are intended to promote.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)88-115
Number of pages28
JournalCalifornia Management Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


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