Academic Entrepreneurship. Phase-specific Constraints and Needs
Purpose: Academic entrepreneurship is extremely relevant in knowledge and technology transfer (KTT). The purpose of this study is to provide insights into phase-specific constraints and needs impacting scientists' engagement in entrepreneurial activities at public research institutions. Design/methodology/approach: In an exploratory case study, 40 qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with German academic entrepreneurs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Findings: Based on the data analysis an ideal-typical founding process with phase-specific barriers and needs was identified. Many constraints and associated needs occur in more than one phase, including the lack of knowledge, the demand for exchange formats, the lack of time and financial resources, institutionalized return options, the lack of human resources, and the lack of incentives. Research limitations/implications: Given its exploratory approach, this study has limitations regarding its generalization; however, the presented findings may induce further research and in-depth analysis on this matter. Practical implications: Several recommendations for action are provided for each phase of the founding process to strengthen the (entrepreneurial) transfer in research organizations. Generally, a pioneering indicator of excellence in the science system should be developed to promote transfer next to publications. Originality/value: The study contributes to existing literature on determinants of academic entrepreneurship by indicating the phase-specific constraints and needs throughout the founding process and discussing those needs in the theoretical context of current societal and technological mega-trends.