Improving the efficiency of University technology transfer

De Beer, Christle (2018-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to improve the efficiency of university technology transfer. Research has shown that there are three primary ways of achieving this. First, determining how efficient technology transfer offices (TTOs) are at university technology transfer (internal). Secondly, determining best practices that can be shared between TTOs to improve university technology transfer (interoffice). Finally, through strategic intervention by university management (intra-organisation). In developing countries, such as South Africa, there is a paucity of tangible data that can be used to determine the efficiency of TTOs using traditional benchmarking techniques. This study, therefore, addressed this gap by the creation of a novel self-assessment tool, using non-monetary and intangible indicators collectively known as intellectual capital (IC), to determine the efficiency of TTOs. Furthermore, there are a myriad of challenges in sharing best practices between organisations, and these are exacerbated in the case of TTOs as university technology transfer is a complex process. In order to address these challenges this study created a maturity model, to be used in conjunction with the self-assessment tool, which can act as a mechanism for sharing best practices between TTOs. Given that university technology transfer is a relatively new development in South Africa, university management often lack the background to understand how TTOs function, and therefore how to effectively intervene to improve the efficiency of TTOs. This study therefore visualised the data on the performance of the TTO (as per the self-assessment tool and maturity model) in a way that is relatable to all levels of university management. Collectively, this study resulted in the creation of three novel tools that can be used to improve the efficiency of university technology transfer at the TTO level (both internal and interoffice) and at university level (intra-organisation). Furthermore, this study addressed three gaps identified in literature: the inability to determine the efficiency of technology transfer without tangible data, the lack of a mechanism to effectively share best practices between TTOs, and, the use of intellectual capital as a tool for university management to intervene and improve technology transfer. Given that these are novel tools, each had to be verified and validated using a variety of techniques. The results of this study are given in article format moving from why and how the tools were created, to validation and verification, and finally to practical applications of the tools in real and theoretical case studies. This study concludes that, through this three-pronged approach the efficiency of technology transfer offices may be improved. Future work will see these tools tested in developing countries, and more detailed case studies will be developed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie is om die doeltreffendheid van tegnologie-oordrag in universiteite te verbeter. Navorsing het getoon dat daar drie primêre maniere is om dit te bereik. Eerstens, om die doeltreffendheid van tegnologie-oordragkantore (TOK'e) te bepaal en interne verbetering te bewerkstellig. Tweedens, deur beste praktyke tussen TOK'e met mekaar te deel om universiteitstegnologie-oordrag te verbeter (inter-kantoor). Laastens deur die strategiese ingryping deur universiteitsbestuur (intra-organisasie). In ontwikkelende lande, soos Suid-Afrika, is daar 'n gebrek aan data wat gebruik kan word vir vergelykende studies om die doeltreffendheid van TOK’e te bepaal. Hierdie studie het dus die gaping aangespreek deur 'n nuwe self-assesseringsinstrument te skep wat nie-monetêre en ontasbare aanwysers vir intellektuele kapitaal gebruik om die doeltreffendheid van TOK'e te bepaal. Verder is daar 'n magdom uitdagings om beste praktyke tussen organisasies te deel, en dit word vererger in die geval van TOK’e aangesien universiteitstegnologie-oordrag 'n komplekse proses is. Hierdie studie het dus 'n volwassenheidsmodel geskep wat saam met die selfassesseringsinstrument gebruik kan word, wat kan dien as 'n meganisme om beste praktyke tussen TOK'e te deel, en so doende die gaping aanspreek. Aangesien universiteitstegnologie-oordrag 'n relatief nuwe ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika is, het die universiteitsbestuur dikwels nie die agtergrond om te verstaan hoe TOK'e funksioneer nie, en weet dus nie hoe om effektief in te gryp om die doeltreffendheid van TOK'e te verbeter nie. Hierdie studie het dus die prestasie van die TOK (soos per die selfassesseringsinstrument en volwassenheidsmodel) voorgestel op 'n manier wat deur alle vlakke van universiteitsbestuur begryp kan word. Hierdie studie het dus gelei tot die skepping van drie nuwe tegnieke wat gebruik kan word om die doeltreffendheid van universiteitstegnologie-oordrag op die TOK-vlak (intern en interkantoor) en op universiteitsvlak (intra-organisasie) te verbeter. Diensooreenkomstig, is die drie gapings in die navorsing aangespreek, naamlik: die gebrek aan ‘n manier om die doeltreffendheid van universiteitstegnologie-oordrag te bepaal sonder tasbare aanwysers, die gebrek aan ‘n meganisme om beste praktyke effektief tussen TOK’e te deel, en, die gebruik van intellektuele kapitaal as ‘n instrument wat universiteitsbestuur kan gebruik om strategies in te gryp om tegnologie-oordrag te verbeter. Aangesien dit nuwe tegnieke is, moet elkeen deur 'n verskeidenheid metodologieё geverifieer en gevalideer word. Die resultate van hierdie studie word gegee in artikelformaat wat begin met hoekom en hoe die tegnieke geskep is, na verifikasie en validasie, en uiteindelik tot praktiese toepassings van die instrumente in werklike en teoretiese gevallestudies. Hierdie studie het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die doeltreffendheid van tegnologie-oordragkantore deur middel van hierdie drieledige benadering verbeter kan word. Toekomstige navorsing sal die tegnieke toets in ontwikkelende lande, en breedvoerige gevallestudies sal opgeskryf word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103275
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