Technology transfer offices as a nexus within the triple helix: The progression of the university's role

Will Geoghegan, Conor O'Kane, Ciara Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The prospect of increased revenue and spillovers has influenced the mission of the university to reflect an increasingly commercial orientation. This paper focuses on university commercialisation in three countries (Ireland, New Zealand and the USA), through 58 semi-structured interviews with technology transfer officers and a quantitative assessment of university patenting trajectories. Using interviews with technology transfer office executives and university patent applications as proxies for commercial orientation, the study uncovers explanations to the heterogeneous commercial orientation apparent in all three regions. Findings indicate that path dependency; university leadership; technology transfer office scale and connectivity are critical determinants of commercial orientation. The paper concludes by surmising how path dependency might strongly dictate the other determinants and outlines some implications for literature and policy development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-277
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Technology Management
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2015


  • Technology transfer offices
  • Triple helix
  • University commercialisation
  • University industry technology transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • General Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Law


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