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Barriers to technology transfer and policies - Mike Wright

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  • 1. Mike Wright, Imperial College Business School © Imperial College Business School Barriers to technology transfer and policies 1 Presentation at Bologna, February 2014
  • 2. • What barriers are there to technology transfer? • How can the barriers to technology transfer be addressed? • Focus on: – Universities – Spin-offs and academic entrepreneurs • “10” barriers based on 15 year research programme Barriers and overcoming them © Imperial College Business School Introduction 3
  • 3. • Universities: spin-offs have contextual issues related to: • University ownership of IP • Time from research to market • Potentially conflicting objectives and ambidextrous organizations – Revenue generation to meet budget constraints – Lack of commercial orientation • Differences between universities regionally • Links to varying local industry networks Need to understand dimensions of university context © Imperial College Business School Barrier 1 4
  • 4. • Disconnect between strategy, science base, – Quality and scope of research & faculty base – Expertise of TTO – Culture of Departments and academic tribes • Supportive of commercialization? – Objectives, risks and returns unclear/unrealistic/conflicting © Imperial College Business School Universities strategies for academic entrepreneurship not aligned Barrier 2 5
  • 5. Barrier 3 Mismatched Support Models for University Spin-Offs RESOURCES ACTIVITIES Low selective 23.3% Supportive 16.3% Incubator 4.7% Low High Low High
  • 6. • Traditional focus on hard science with patents by faculty or high growth ICT • Alumni increasingly provide academic entrepreneurship: – Students, Drop-outs, Graduates • Financial & social ventures • Need to adapt TTO and education approaches © Imperial College Business School Narrow focus of technology being transferred Barrier 4 7
  • 7. • Academic start-up teams often lack skill & cognition diversity – Select who they know not what need – Don’t build links with those they need to help them • Academic Entrepreneurs are doing it for the first time – But many academics are serial entrepreneurs – can mentor colleagues – Better than support agencies – Especially for getting beyond start- up © Imperial College Business School Insufficient attention to entrepreneurs & teams Barrier 5 8
  • 8. • Spin-off directors need skills & contacts to help firms grow, cross critical junctures and survive – Sector experience, successful prior entrepreneurial experience, …. • Spin-offs with academics & TTO boards limited – Need contacts to identify required skills © Imperial College Business School Insufficient attention to building boards Barrier 6 9
  • 9. • Academics embedded in networks with other scientists for grants & publications – But embeddedness paradoxical – May not have networks with commercial actors • Need to access these networks AND to know how to recruit the people who can give them that access Insufficient attention to building networks © Imperial College Business School Barrier 7 10
  • 10. © Imperial College Business School 11 Need to be able to transform networks in different ways Existing weak ties Developed strong ties Opportunity refinement competency Resourceacquisition competency Championing competency Use Use Use Time Time Time Existing strong ties New weak ties Existing strong ties Existing weak ties (e.g. fromresource acquisition) Barrier 7 Need ability to transform networks in different ways for different purposes
  • 11. • Framing opportunities may especially be problem in university context as: – distance from market readiness – Uncertainty of new markets • Poses challenges in how opportunities exploited • Recognise critical junctures and how they are overcome…. Challenges of moving from opportunity to market © Imperial College Business School Barrier 8 12
  • 12. • Market for products vs market for technology – Formal IP based spin-offs may take many years to generate product revenue – During this period value of technology may rise: • License the technology, sell patents [technology market] • Sell or IPO the company [financial market] – Value from expected future returns – Valuation uncertain and can be volatile • Especially if regulatory hurdle not overcome • Economic and social value Lack of attention to where value lies © Imperial College Business School Barrier 9 13
  • 13. • Especially an issue with innovations generated from universities – Far from market – Long timescales: Biotech/health vs ICT • Much funding focuses on the beginning of start-up – Grants, accelerator programs • …..But start-up is a process • …many funding rounds before viability • Multiple finance gaps • Challenge to make investor-ready at a value acceptable to the university and the VC Limited filling of finance gap © Imperial College Business School Barrier 10 14
  • 14. • Direct academic entrepreneurship – Novel research to create innovations leading to spin-offs by academic scientists and students – Support for heterogeneity of types – Flexible human, social and financial capital over the evolving spin-off life-cycle process • Indirect academic entrepreneurship – Education & research experience lead indirectly to entrepreneurial graduate actions via Corporate Spin-offs & alumni start-ups • Redesign TTO & courses to support student & alumn start-ups – Start-up “garages” for students and alumns – Cross-disciplinary student /faculty projects – Develop different types of industry reach-out/reach-in © Imperial College Business School Rethink Academic Entrepreneurship Implications for Universities 15
  • 15. Thank You! Questions?