As technologies have grown more sophisticated and emerging industries have become more high-tech, universities have become more important players in the processes of invention, innovation, and commercialization.

To be sure, bringing innovations to market has not been the main historical role of university-based researchers. Instead, university researchers quite appropriately concentrate on basic science. But the ultimate aim of scientific research, after all, is to improve the human condition and so aiding the transfer and commercialization of discoveries serves the interests of the inventor and society. “Since the Industrial Revolution, the growth of economies around the world has been driven largely by the pursuit of scientific understanding, the application of engineering solutions, and continual technological innovation” (National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering 2006). Ideally, university structures should support all aspects of this process, from invention to innovation, as well as commercialization. Hence office research Innovation & Commercialization is responsible for facilitating and supporting the discovery and innovation process on their respective campuses.

As universities become more entrepreneurial and look toward technology transfer into non-traditional fields, there is a need for alternative conceptualizations of technology transfer that are more accurate and realistic than the traditional linear model and that are generalizable to the nuances of the university to which they are applied.

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