Defining and improving technology transfer business and managementprocesses in university innovation centres

Rodney McAdam, William Keogh, Brendan Galbraith, Bill Laurie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complex and dynamic behaviour associated with technology transfer business processes combined with the technological risk involved in the participating small firms, has led to a lack of business process definition and improvement in this area. Furthermore, the embryonic firms are highly individualistic with differing needs for assistance and development. There may also be a tendency to provide infrastructure and basic services with an avoidance of business process definition and hence, improvement. The aim of this paper is to investigate how potential business and management inputs can be used to define and to suggest improvements for two key technology transfer business processes, namely the technology licensing process and the business building process. A stratified pathway process mapping approach is used. This research approach includes semi-structured interviews with University Innovation Centre small firms, focus groups with Innovation Centre stakeholders and best practice benchmarking. The findings indicate that a modified processual approach can be adopted to define key business processes within technology transfer. Using this approach it is possible to show where business and management interventions can most effectively be deployed in each process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1418-1429
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

Bibliographical note

Reference text: Agrawal, A., Henderson, R., 2002. Putting Patents in context: Exploring
knowledge transfer from MIT. Management Science 48 (1), 44–61.
Alvesson, M., Willmott, H., 1996. Making Sense of Management. Sage,
R. McAdam et al. / Technovation 25 (2005) 1418–1429 1427
Atherton, A, Hannon, P., (1999), The innovation process in the small
business: an analysis of its structure, dynamics and constituent parts,
Internal Report, International Council for Small Business, USA.
Blaydon, C., Keogh, W., Evans, G., 1999. Managerial skill requirements in
R & D based NTBFs. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship
Behaviour and Research 5 (4), 173–190.
Bower, D.J., Shaw, C., Keogh, W., 1998. in: Oakey, R., During, W. (Eds.),
The process of small firm innovation in the UK oil and gas-related
industry New Technology Based Firms in the 1990s, vol. 5. Chapman,
Brown, A., Soderstrom, E., 2002. Start-Up and Equity Primer. Association
of University Technology Managers Publication, Yale.
Chiesa, V., Piccaluga, A., 1998. in: Oakey, R., During, W. (Eds.),
Transforming rather than transferring scientific and technological
knowledge-the contribution of academic ‘spin out companies: the
Italian way New Technology Based Firms in the 1990’s, vol. 5.
Chapman, London.
Cordullo, M., 1999. Technological Enterprises, Enterprise Formation and
Growth. Research Studies Press, London.
Dale, B., 1994. The use of the quality improvement framework in Trafford
park. The TQM Magazine 6 (3), 48–54.
Danson, M., 1996. New firm foundation and regional economic development,
in: Danson, M. (Ed.), Small Firm Foundation and Regional
Economic Development. Toutledge, London.
Davenport, S., Carr, A., Bibby, D., 2002. Leveraging talent: spin-off
strategy at industrial research. R & D Management 32 (3), 241–254.
Dawson, P., 1994. Organisational Change: a Processual Approach.
Chapman, London.
Demarest, M., 1997. Understanding knowledge management. Journal of
Long Range Planning 30 (3), 374–384.
Downes, R., Eadie, G., 1998. in: Oakey, R., During, W. (Eds.), The creation
and support of academic spin-out companies New Technology Based
Firms in the 1990s, vol. 5. Chapman, London.
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R., 1997. Enterprise formation and growth, in:
Burgoyne, J., Reynolds, M. (Eds.), Management Learning. Sage,
Eisenhardt, K., 1989. Building theories from case study research. Academy
of Management Review 14, 532–550.
Erikson, T., Gjellan, A., 2003. Training programmes as incubators. Journal
of European Industrial Training 27 (1), 36–40.
Evans, G., Keogh, W., Aldhous, T., 2001. the role of science parks in
regional development: a case study—the aberdeen science and
technology parks, Proceedings of the XV IASP World Conference on
Science and Technology Parks, Australia 2001.
Ferguson, R., 1995. Panacea or let-down? Science parks in the literature.
Internal Publication, Institute for Economics, Sweden.
Finer, B., Holberton, P., 2002. Incubation: There and back, ideas don’t
always translate into profits as the experience of for profit incubators
shows. Journal of Business Strategy 23 (4), 23–26.
Grint, K., Willcocks, L., 1995. Business process reengineering in theory
and practice: business paradise regained. New Technology, Work and
Employment 10 (2), 99–109.
Hargadon, A., Sutton, R., 1997. Technology brokering and innovation in a
product development firm. Administrative Science Quarterly 42 (4),
HEFCE, 2003. Higher education-business interaction survey, HEFCE
publication, Paper No. 11 2003.
Jensen, R., Thursby, M., 1998. Proofs and prototypes for sale: the tale of
university licensing, National Bureau for Economic Research, Working
Paper No 6698 1998 pp. 1–20.
Jones-Evans, D., Klofsten, M., Andersson, E., Pandya, D., 1999. Creating
a bridge between university and industry in small European countries:
the role of the industrial liaison office. R & D Management 29 (1),
Keogh, W., Stewart, V., Taylor, J., 2001. Developing strategies for growth
in HTSFs: looking beyond survival in an increasingly competitive
marketplace, in: During, W., Oakey, R. (Eds.), New Technology-Based
Firms in the New Millenium. Pergamon Press, London.
Kucki, Z., 1999. University counsels small ‘split firms’ in post communist
country. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 6 (4),
Laurie, D., 2001. Venture Catalyst. McGraw-Hill, New York.
Maniukiewicz, C., Williams, S., Keogh, W., 1999. Partnerships and
networks: lessons from facilitating entrepreneurship. Journal of Small
Business and Enterprise Development 6 (1), 68–79.
Mashari, M., Zairi, M., 1999. BPR implementation process: an analysis of
key success and failure factors. Business Process Management Journal
5 (1), 87–112.
Mason, C., Harrison, R., 1998. in: Oakey, R., During, W. (Eds.),
Stimulating investments by business angels in technology-based
ventures: the potential of an independent technology appraisal service
New Technology Based Firms in the 1990s, vol. 5. Chapman, London.
McAdam, R., 2000. The implementation of reengineering in SMEs: a
grounded study. International Small Business Journal 18 (4(72)), 29–
McAdam, R., 2002. Large scale innovation-reengineering methodology in
SMEs: positivistic and phenomenological approaches. International
Small Business Journal 20 (1), 33–52.
Muent, H., 1999. University spin-offs and local business support
inrastructure in a post-socialist economy. Journal of Small Business
and Enterprise Development 6 (2), 128–138.
Murray, G., Marriot, R., 1998. in: Oakey, R., During, W. (Eds.), Modelling
the economic viability of an early-stage, technology focused venture
capital fund New Technology Based Firms in the 1990s, vol. 5.
Chapman, London.
Oakey, R., Mukhter, S., 1999. United kingdom high-technology small firms
in theory and practice: a review of recent trends. International Small
Business Journal 17 (1), 7–28.
Oakey, R., Hare, P., Balazes, K., 1996. Strategies for the exploitation of
intelligence capital: evidence from Hungarian research institutes. R &
D Management 26 (1), 67–83.
Perera, T., Liyanage, K., 2001. IDEF based methodology for rapid data
collection. Integrated Manufacturing Systems 12 (3).
Raymond, L., Bergeron, F., Rivard, S., 1998. Determinants of business
process reengineering success in small and large enterprises: an
empirical study in the Canadian context. Journal of Small Business
Management 36 (1), 72–85.
Reid, S., Garnsey, E., 1998. in: Oakey, R., During, W. (Eds.), Incubation
policy and resource provision: meeting the needs of young, innovative
firms New Technology Based Firms in the 1990s, vol. 5. Chapman,
Remenyi, D., Williams, B., Money, A., Swartz, E., 1998. Research in
Business and Management. Sage, London.
Rothwell, R., Segveld, W., 1982. Innovation in the Small and Medium
Sized Firm. Pinter, London.
Siegel, D., Westhead, P., Wright, M., 2002. Support for new technologybased
firms: the role played by property-based science parks, in:
Quadrio-Curzio, Alberto, Fortis, Marco (Eds.), Complexity and
Industrial Clusters: Dynamics and Models in Theory and Practice.
Physica-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany, pp. 249–266.
Smailes, R., Cooper, S., Keogh, W., 2002. Supporting university enterprise:
the Scottish and US experience. International Journal of Entrepreneurship
and Innovation Management 2 (1).
Stirling, A., Mayer, S., 2000. A precautionary approach to technology
appraisal?—a multi criteria mapping of genetic modification in UK
agriculture. TA-Datenbank-Nachrichten 3 (9), 39–50.
Westhead, P., Storey, D., 1994. An Assessment of Firms Located On and
Off Science Parks in the United Kingdom. HMSO, London.
Yin, R., 1989. Case study research-design and methods, Applied Social
Research Methods Series, vol. 5. Sage, CA.
Zairi, M., Whymark, J., 2000. The transfer of best practices: how to build a
culture of benchmarking and continuous learning-part 1. Benchmarking:
an International Journal 7 (1), 62–78.


Dive into the research topics of 'Defining and improving technology transfer business and managementprocesses in university innovation centres'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this