A Taxonomic Examination of the Determinants of University Licensing Revenue

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2020-11-17

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Abstract

While many institutions had been licensing technologies for decades, the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980 precipitated an explosion in technology commercialization activity at American universities. By 2000, about a decade after the Association of University Technology Managers began to collect commercialization metrics, researchers had begun to show an interest in university technology transfer as an area worthy of study. Most of this research focused on the relative performance of academic technology transfer offices in an attempt to determine what institutional activities or characteristics are predictive of commercialization success. This dissertation expands on this literature by developing a taxonomy of key variables thought to be predictive of university licensing income, disaggregating data reported by university systems, and incorporating novel variables related to the metropolitan regions where universities are located. The results show that operational variables (those that are under the control of technology transfer managers) and institutional variables (institutional characteristics like research expenditures and doctoral program quality) are much better predictors of institutional licensing revenue than environmental variables (characteristics of an institution’s regional environment such as high-tech industry density and venture capital activity). Further, the size of the technology transfer office staff and the amount of total research expenditures at each institution seem to be the most influential factors related to licensing revenue, with a 1% increase in staff size and in research expenditures predicting a 0.5% to 1% increase in institutional licensing revenue. Further work to expand the size of the panel data set used in this study is warranted to help address influential observations in the data and explore potential lag structures between the dependent and independent variables.

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Technology transfer, Universities and colleges -- Technology transfer, License agreements

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