Although university-industry collaboration has been analyzed following different perspectives and approaches, some aspects are still scant and unexplored. This article assesses, by referring to an inductive, exploratory case study of technology transfer offices (henceforth TTOs), how external support may affect university-industry collaboration, and what characteristics both parties and intermediary units might facilitate in the success of this relationship. We considered two of the most active TTOs in Italy, namely Politecnico of Torino and University of Bologna, using various documents and twenty-five semistructured interviews with academics, CEOs’ and TTOs’ employees. Tapping the subdivision identified by Van Dierdonck and Debackere (1988), different barriers to universityindustry collaboration, pointed out by respondents, are proposed. Additionally, our findings revealed previously underexplored aspects about TTOs’ support to university-industry relationships. In particular, we argue that university-industry collaboration is more likely to succeed if parties resort to external support (such as that of TTOs), and if specific characteristics of both parties and TTOs subsist. A summarizing model is proposed.
Keywords: University-industry collaboration, TTOs, technology transfer, case study
Jel Code: M100, M190