Knowledge transfer to industry: how academic researchers learn to become boundary spanners during academic engagement

S.A.M. Dolmans, B. Walrave (Corresponding author), S. Read, N. van Stijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
108 Downloads (Pure)


Research on academic engagement and technology transfer or commercialization offers important insights into the relationship between characteristics, activities and abilities of individual academic researchers, with outcomes such as successful technology transfer and commercialization. In particular, the activity of boundary spanning proves central in the successful transfer and commercialization of university developed technologies. However, the process by which academic researchers become boundary spanners remains relatively unexplored. This investigation serves to shed new light on the matter. We draw on an in-depth case study of a large European publicly funded initiative, directed to stimulate industry adoption of a university-developed technology across Europe. Our rich dataset is a result of following the project from start to finish, triangulating from multiple sources over a three-year period. Our analyses offer novel insight into the role of perspective taking as a mechanism both enabling academics to understand knowledge boundaries faced during engagement activities and a critical input to developing and improving boundary spanning abilities. Our findings offer important implications for research on academic engagement and technology commercialization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1422-1450
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Academic engagement
  • Boundary spanning
  • Dynamic perspective
  • System dynamics
  • Technology transfer


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