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Mobilising intellectual capital to improve European universities’ competitiveness: The technology transfer offices’ role

Giustina Secundo (Department of Innovation Engineering, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)
Christle De Beer (Department of Industrial Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Cornelius S.L. Schutte (Department of Industrial Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Giuseppina Passiante (Department of Innovation Engineering, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Universities concerned with third mission activities are engines that increase regional competitiveness since their primary role in the knowledge-based economy is to stimulate innovation by transferring new knowledge and technologies to industry and society. The purpose of this paper is to show how IC can be mobilized by university technology transfer offices (TTOs) due to the correlation between efficient university technology transfer and intellectual capital (IC), thus contributing to the third stage of IC research.

Design/methodology/approach

The application of the Maturity Model developed by Secundo et al. (2016) is expanded by collecting data from 18 universities in the European countries to illustrate how IC can be used as a strategy and solution to the barriers faced by TTOs.

Findings

TTOs with increased access to and utilization of IC tend to have higher maturity levels. This new application of the Maturity Model, proves that IC can be utilized to manage and improve the efficiency of TTOs.

Research limitations/implications

An indication of the level of access that TTOs have to university IC is given leading to recommendations to improve university technology transfer. Future research should include a wider sample of universities to increase the validation of the Maturity Model and to prove it as a suitable and strategic approach for IC management at TTOs.

Practical implications

Knowing which IC components are essential for the efficiency of TTOs, and which IC needs greater utilization, will provide insights into policy and practical interventions to improve their efficiency, resulting in increasing universities’ competitiveness.

Originality/value

A new approach and perspective on utilizing IC to improve university technology transfer to contribute to the third stage of IC research calling for more practice-oriented research.

Keywords

Citation

Secundo, G., De Beer, C., Schutte, C.S.L. and Passiante, G. (2017), "Mobilising intellectual capital to improve European universities’ competitiveness: The technology transfer offices’ role", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 607-624. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIC-12-2016-0139

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited