An exploration of an institutional and behavioural analytic framework for technology transfer and commercialization partnerships
Technology transfer and commercialization partnerships have become a key focus in knowledge based economies. They are deemed a necessary means to translate basic academic research to market based solutions. These partnerships can be considered a special group of public-private partnerships, as they increasingly include universities as a central player. The objective of this study is to explore the institutional and behavioural underpinnings of technology transfer and commercialization partnerships in an attempt to provide a comprehensive platform for scholars and practitioners in the area to analyse the various key components of these partnerships. To do this, we use the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework presented by Elinor Ostrom (2005) to gain deeper understanding of how factors such as community attributes, biophysical and material conditions, and rules impact the interactions between participants in technology transfer and commercialization partnerships. To understand the impact of behavioural factors on the technology transfer partnerships, we then make use of two key concepts from the area of behavioural decision making: bounded rationality (Simon, 1955) and Prospect Theory (Kahneman and Tverskey, 1979). Based on these theories, and on insights from the IAD framework, we develop an understanding of how cognitive limitations may influence decisions of individual participants in technology transfer and commercialization partnerships. The theoretical framework is complemented by a case study on Saskatoon’s Agriculture Biotechnology Cluster. More specifically, we analyze the initiative to develop the Bio-economy Center of Commercialization and Research (BECCR), which was initiated to pool commercially viable technologies held across various organizations in the cluster. The study confirms our theoretical postulates around institutional and behavioural factors necessary for successful development and functioning of these partnerships. The study shows that cognitive framing of the issue in the context of win-loss opportunities are key behavioural factors while the broad definition of technologies, different organizational cultures, university administrative policies, ILO structure, time frames, faculty attitudes and lack of political are found to be the most important institutional factors.
Technology Transfer Partnerships, Institutions, Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, Bounded Rationality, Prospect Theory
Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.)
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy