Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center
 Hanna Aginskaya, Maksim Belitski, Radzivon Marozau

Commercializing university research in transition economies: Technology transfer offices or direct industrial funding?

The research " Commercializing university research in transition economies: Technology transfer offices or direct industrial funding?" was published in the magazine Research Policy.

Highlights

  • University research commercialization in transition economies does not mirror what has been found in developed economies.
  • Knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship explains the multi-level interactions between stakeholders on research commercialization.
  • In transition economies, the establishment of a university TTO neither facilitate nor impede the scientists’ research commercialization.
  • In transition economies, direct industrial funding is a conduit to university knowledge transfer and technology adoption.

Abstract

There is a paucity of knowledge on research commercialization by university scientists worldwide. The objective of this paper is to identify the role that Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) and direct Industrial Funding play in university research commercialization in transition economies of Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan during 2015–2017. We do this by developing a novel database and a multi-level model which explains how individual attributes, organizational and ecosystem characteristics explain the extent of knowledge commercialization.

We apply the generalized Heckman approach to account for two selection biases, reducing the sample from 2602 to 272 scientists, and further use a mixed-method approach to analyse 27 face-to-face interviews with researchers and TTO managers. The results demonstrate that research commercialization is not associated with the existence and awareness of TTO or the establishment of commercialization contracts via TTO, but the direct industrial funding of university research. Taken together the findings have clear implications for scholars, scientific entrepreneurs, TTOs and investors who aim to exploit university knowledge in transition economies.