Keywords: technology transfer, commercialisation, case studies, metrics, evaluation, reengineering
Secrets of success and failure in commercialising US government R&D laboratory technologies: a structured case study approach
With the end of the Cold War, the US government started encouraging defence conversion and commercialisation activities. Although currently highly contested in the political arena for their tangible short-term economic benefits, these activities have fostered multiple high-tech government-university-industry partnerships and helped shape regions of emerging clusters of high-tech entrepreneurship, such as the Rio Grande Technology Corridor in the south-western United States, where Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories are located, or the Austin, Texas technopolis. This paper studies, compares and contrasts case studies of high-tech strategic alliances, spin-offs, CRADAs, and other related modalities of technology transfer and commercialisation. It aims to enhance the understanding of the role and potential of a case study to produce powerful new "performance metrics" which could complement structured, quantitative metrics in a hybrid approach to assessing and reengineering technology transfer and commercialisation efforts. It could further lead towards the formulation of an effective mid-range theory for technology transfer and commercialisation combining micro-level with macro-level elements and concepts.