The Development of University Technology Transfer Stakeholder Relationships at a Regional Level: Lessons for the Future

Rodney McAdam, Kristel Miller, Maura McAdam, Sinead Teague

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83 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing importance placed upon regional development and the knowledge-based economy as economic growth stimuli has led to a changing role for Universities and their interaction with the business community through (though not limited to) the transfer of technology from academia to industry. With the emergence of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) replacing the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), there is a need for policy and practice going forward to be clearly informed by a critique of TTO (Technology Transfer Office)–RDA stakeholder relationship in a lessons learned approach so that LEPs can benefit from a faster learning curve. Thus, the aim of this paper is to examine the stakeholder relationship between three regional universities in the context of its TTO and the RDA with a view to determining lessons learned for the emerging LEP approach. Although the issues raised are contextual, the abstracted stakeholder conceptualisation of the TTO–RDA relationship should enable wider generalisation of the issues raised beyond the UK. Stakeholder theory relationship and stage development models are used to guide a repeat interview study of the TTO and RDA stakeholder groupings. The findings, interpreted using combined category and stage based stakeholder models, show how the longitudinal development of the TTO–RDA stakeholder relationship for each case has progressed through different stakeholder pathways, and stages where specific targeting of funding was dependant on the stakeholder stage. Greater targeted policy and funding, based on the stakeholder relationship approach, led to the development of joint mechanisms and a closer alignment of performance measures between the TTO and the RDA. However, over-reliance on the unitary nature of the TTO–RDA relationship may lead to a lack of cultivation and dependency for funding from other stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Early online date28 Sept 2011
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2012

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