The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 42–65 | Cite as

Convergence or path dependency in policies to foster the creation of university spin-off firms? A comparison of France and the United Kingdom



This paper examines attempts by French and UK governments to fill the gap between the US and Europe with respect to the creation of academic spin-offs. Analysis of the contrasting cases of the UK and France, shows that there is no convergence of national policies to foster the creation of firms by academics. Rather, the two countries demonstrate different rationales and approaches to policy in this area. In UK, the rationale for spin-off policy is mainly to develop a third stream of financing. Spin-offs are a part of a policy to commercialize technology and knowledge created by universities. Policy is at the university level, leading to the creation of diverse structures. Public schemes bring public money directly to universities. In France, the rationale for policy towards the creation of new ventures by academics is the development of high technology new ventures as part of a technological entrepreneurship policy. The notion of a third stream of financing for universities is an argument that is never advanced. The UK has placed the universities at the heart of policies aimed at the creation of spin-offs, this is not the case in France.


Academic entrepreneurship Universities Technology transfer Technology policy 

JEL Classification

N13 O31 O32 



Financial support from the PRIME network is acknowledged as are comments from an anonymous referee.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre de Sociologie de l’InnovationMines ParisTechParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre for Management Buy-out ResearchNottingham University Business SchoolNottinghamUK
  3. 3.Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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