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The Rise and Fall of the University of Toronto’s Innovations Foundation: Lessons from Canadian Technology Transfer

Abstract: This study explains the rise and fall of the Innovations Foundation, the University of Toronto's first office dedicated to the transfer of university-developed technologies to industry. Drawing on extensive archival research, ten interviews with key informants, and other sources, the case study traces the evolution of the Foundation from its launch in 1980 to its closure in 2006. The study delineates three distinct business models under which the Foundation operated from 1980 to 1990, 1990 to 1999, and 1999 to 2006. The reasons for the adoption and failure of each model are explored and a historically grounded, context-sensitive explanation of the university's decision to dismantle the Foundation in 2006 is provided. This explanation emphasizes the importance of managing unrealistic expectations for Canadian university technology transfer, and adds weight to a growing consensus on the importance of historical path-dependence as a conceptual tool for understanding the persistence of differentials in technology transfer performance among universities.

Author: Kristjan Sigurdson

Source: University of Toronto - TSpace

Size: 1.04 MB
Last Updated: July 31, 2015