Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Alan J. DeYoung

Second Advisor

Dr. John R. Thelin

Abstract

American research universities, especially over the past 30 years, have increasingly become involved in technology transfer activities. For public land grant institutions, involvement is largely inspired by a desire to maximize revenue opportunities and demonstrate economic relevance. This intrinsic case study addresses the efforts of a public, land grant and flagship institution, the University of Kentucky, to augment its technology transfer activities, with a specific focus on its attempts to spin off university technology-based firms. The data were gathered primarily through oral history interviews with technology transfer personnel, entrepreneurs, and spinoff personnel. Its purpose is to understand better the structure of the university’s technology transfer operations, the impact of changes in institutional administration and priorities on these efforts, and variables that challenge and accommodate accomplishment of organizational goals. The findings of this study indicate that the structure of technology transfer operations at the university is complex, and somewhat confounding. Administrative changes impact various groups differently than others, and a major challenge to the accomplishment of goals is funding. Moreover, distinct but related groups seem to lack consistent, overarching goals.

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