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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Research
Feb 1, 2017

Organizing for Innovation — Do TLO Characteristics Correlate with Technology Transfer Outcomes?

Abstract

There is great heterogeneity across American Research Universities in terms of the technology transfer process and office characteristics that influence academic technology commercialization outcomes. This study investigates how the organizational reporting structure of the university technology licensing office (TLO) and the educational background and experience of the TLO director affect the technology transfer process. We find that TLOs reporting directly to the university leader or to an economic/ business development office are relatively more effective in working with university startups than TLOs reporting to an office of research, whereas TLOs reporting to multiple functions are relatively more effective in licensing than TLOs reporting directly to the office of research or to an economic/business development office. We also find TLO directors with an MBA degree to be more effective in obtaining invention disclosures and working with startups than TLO directors with a PhD, and TLO directors with an MBA or a PhD degree are more effective at licensing activities than TLO directors with a legal degree. Our analysis finds TLO directors with Juris Doctor (Doctor of Law degree) to be less effective in licensing outcomes than all other educational backgrounds, suggesting that legal wrangling may reduce university licensing counts.

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