Editors: Thomas J. Allen and Rory P. O’Shea
Publisher: Cambridge University Press – 391 pages
Book Review by: Sonu Chandiram

This book looks at the missing links between new technologies discovered and developed at 12 universities and the emergence of products and services that would be accepted by potential users, both individuals and businesses. It answers this basic question: what essential elements are needed for a successful technology-based business startup?

Twenty-seven specialists in business, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, innovation, management, technology, and related fields, from nine countries – Belgium, Canada, China, France, India, Ireland, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States – authored or coauthored the chapters of this book.

We list the titles of this book’s 15 chapters below to provide you a brief overview of its contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. The second economic revolution: The rise of the entrepreneurial university and impetuses to firm foundation
  3. University-based entrepreneurship: A synthesis of the literature
  4. Creating the MIT entrepreneurial ecosystem
  5. Inventing the entrepreneurial university: Stanford and the co-evolution of Silicon Valley
  6. The partnership between entrepreneurial science and entrepreneurial business: A study of integrated development at UCSD and San Diego’s high-tech economy
  7. Knowledge for the world: A brief history of commercialization at Johns Hopkins University
  8. From ivory tower to industrial promotion: The case of Yale University and the biotechnology cluster at New Haven
  9. Fostering cross-campus entrepreneurship – Building technology transfer within UCD to create a start-up environment
  10. Simulating academic entrepreneurship and technology transfer: A study of Kings College London commercialization strategies
  11. KU Leuven: Complementing inception dynamics with incubation practices
  12. Toward a ‘global knowledge enterprise’: The entrepreneurial university model of the National University of Singapore
  13. The path to entrepreneurial university in China: A case study of Northeastern University in China
  14. Public research organizations as a base for high-tech entrepreneurship in Europe: The case of IMEC and INRIA
  15. Conclusion: Strategies for enhancement of academic entrepreneurship

Through a series of case studies, the editors and contributing authors examine the factors relating to what makes a business emerge from research and technology development, including, but not limited to the any given university’s:

  • Current policies
  • Practices
  • Program initiatives
  • Structures

In the process, they develop what they call “a normative model of successful academic entrepreneurship.” The aim of this initiative is to help other universities “enhance the quality of their commercialization programs on campus.”

Who will find this book useful? We believe it can benefit not only budding entrepreneurs but also companies looking to develop new products that can create new revenue streams, or by adding important features to their existing products, boost their top line and eventually their bottom line as well.

In today’s headlines on trade wars, political leaders also have a lot to gain from reading this book and finding out what is involved in the process of technological innovation as well as how to protect against encroachment of new technologies and even outright theft by other countries. This is a unique, enlightening, and very enjoyable, readable book that is timely as well.




Thomas J. Allen is the Howard W. Johnson Professor of Management Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He served as Deputy Dean of this school from 1993 to 1998. His long-term research focuses on project management and factors influencing effective communication among engineers and scientists.

Specializing in organizational psychology and management, he explores the relationship between organizational structure and behavior, the role of technological gatekeepers in technology transfer, and how a building’s architectural layout influences communication. He is author of Managing the Flow of Technology: Technology Transfer and the Dissemination of Technology Information Within the R&D Organization (MIT Press 1984) 


Rory P. O’Shea is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also a faculty member at the Smurfit Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin.

His research is primarily focused on the commercialization of academic research, with particular emphasis on the optimal organizational and financial mechanisms for transferring university-based intellectual property into knowledge-based startups. He has published in many of the technology and innovation management journals and is one of the most cited scholars in the field of academic entrepreneurship.