The university as an entrepreneur: The ingredients for valorization and valorization strategies

Peter Van Der Sijde, Ingrid Wakkee, Eveline Stam, Mirjam Leloux

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Valorization of research results is becoming increasingly important today. Since academic research should not only contribute to our "quest for fundamental understanding," but it also needs to "consider use" (Stokes, 1997); these dual goals give rise to tension in academic institutes that need to carefully balance research and its exploitation (Ambos, Mäkelä, Birkenshaw, & D' Este, 2008). Nevertheless, valorization, commercialization, technology transfer, knowledge exploitation or exploitation of research are different labels for a similar activity and have become part and parcel of academic life. Most universities own the intellectual property rights of their research, meaning they have the legal rights (in some countries the legal obligation) to exploit it in a way they see fit. Research (e.g., Van der Heide, S., Van der Sijde, P. & Terlouw, C. (2010). Exploring 'transnational' university cooperation in technology transfer: A European perspective. Industry & Higher Education, 24(1), 17-27) shows that universities have different objectives (e.g. regional development, spin-off creation) for engaging in this process and every university has developed its own approach to deal with this in the sense of funding and support. On an abstract level, there are two scenarios for commercialization (Derksen, J. T. P. (2000). De Ondernemende Onderzoeker: Paradox of Pleonasme [The entrepreneurial researcher: Paradox or pleonasm]. Nijmegen: UBC). In the first scenario the university takes the role of "entrepreneur" and in the second scenario it is the researcher (or the research group) who is involved in research that takes this role with the university being the context in which entrepreneurship takes place. In this contribution our focus is on the university as entrepreneur and we regard valorization as an entrepreneurial process. In order to visualize how the activities of different actors associated with the university contribute to the entrepreneurial process of a university, we will build on ideas postulated by Wakkee and Van der Sijde (2010) regarding the fluid and moldable nature of opportunities. We conceptually elaborate the consequences of their approach for bringing knowledge (and technology) from university to the market.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Technology Based Firms in the New Millennium
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781781903155
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameNew Technology Based Firms in the New Millennium
ISSN (Print)1876-0228


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