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Transversing the “valley of death”: Understanding the determinants to commercialisation of research outputs in Nigeria

Isaac Oluwajoba Abereijo (Institute for Entrepreneurship and Development Studies (IFEDS) Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria)

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies

ISSN: 2040-0705

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The economic impact of scientific research is receiving widespread attention all over the world, with interest being paid to research results that could potentially contribute to economic growth. There have been various policy responses in many African countries to facilitate the nation’s transition from a production-based to an innovation-based economy, especially in the universities. The effort is, however taken for granted that scientists (researchers) are now having academic entrepreneurship mindset. The purpose of this paper is to attempt at developing a model that integrates individual, organisational and institutional determinants of academic entrepreneurship, which can facilitate the ability to cross the “valley of death”.


The paper reviews the theoretical and empirical literature to establish the factors that influence the capacity of academic researchers to discover and exploit opportunities for converting knowledge into commercialisable products.


The findings indicate that exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities is driven by the extent of previous collaboration with industry, cognitive integration and prior entrepreneurial experience. Moreover, the university institutional environment must encourage and facilitate the creation of university spin-offs.

Research limitations/implications

The paper and the proposed framework are based on theoretical suppositions related to the determinant factors underlying the formation of academic entrepreneurial intentions. Therefore, an empirical analysis is required to measure each factor proposed in this model.

Practical implications

Considering the present weak national innovation system and university-industry linkages, universities in developing countries will require more than the production of potentially useful knowledge. There is need for conscious efforts by the university administration to put in place mechanisms that will facilitate the commercialisation of knowledge being produced in the university, encourage active participation in designing marketable products, as well as playing a leadership role in ensuring successful commercialisation.

Social implications

The findings and framework developed in this paper can serve as an input to the design of policies that can stimulate the entrepreneurial activity of the academic researchers so that they can further contribute to technological development and economic growth in African countries.


Majority of the empirical studies on entrepreneurship in developing countries have not attempted to understand the entrepreneurial intention of university academic (researchers). But the current efforts of integrating economic development as an additional function to research and teaching of the universities in developing countries requires that they should operate more entrepreneurially. Therefore, this paper is proposing a framework that might stimulate the creation and development of entrepreneurial university thereby making the university to effectively fulfil its teaching, research and entrepreneurial missions.



Abereijo, I.O. (2015), "Transversing the “valley of death”: Understanding the determinants to commercialisation of research outputs in Nigeria", African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 90-106.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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