Do Spin-Offs Make the Academics' Heads Spin?: The Impacts of Spin-Off Companies on Their Parent Research Organisation.

Research paper by Arend H AH Zomer, Ben W A BW Jongbloed, Jürgen J Enders

Indexed on: 12 Oct '10Published on: 12 Oct '10Published in: Minerva


As public research organisations are increasingly driven by their national and regional governments to engage in knowledge transfer, they have started to support the creation of companies. These research based spin-off companies (RBSOs) often keep contacts with the research institutes they originate from. In this paper we present the results of a study of four research institutes within two universities and two non-university public research organisations (PROs) in the Netherlands. We show that research organisations have distinct motivations to support the creation of spin-off companies. In terms of resources RBSOs contribute, mostly in a modest way, to research activities by providing information, equipment and monetary resources. In particular, RBSOs are helpful for researchers competing for research grants that demand participation of industry. Furthermore, RBSOs may be seen as a proactive response by Dutch public research organisations to demands of economic relevance from their institutional environment. RBSOs enhance the prestige of their parent organisations and create legitimacy for public funds invested in PROs. At the same time, most RBSOs do not have a significant impact on the direction of the research conducted at the PROs.