Inderscience Publishers

Secrets of success and failure in commercialising US government R&D laboratory technologies: a structured case study approach

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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.

Keywords: technology transfer, commercialisation, case studies, metrics, evaluation, reengineering

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