The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 52–74 | Cite as

Closing the distance between academia and market: experimentation and user entrepreneurial processes



We inductively examine how exceptional Principal Investigators (PIs), who are active in biotechnology, medical devices, and nanotechnology, affect new technology trajectories and shape market boundaries by leveraging synergies stemming from their being simultaneously a scientist and a (lead) user. Our central contribution is the scientist-user template that explores how these types of PIs perform successfully their technology transfer task and, consequently, address increasing expectations about PIs as agents of economic and societal development. Building upon five illustrative case histories, we propose that scientist-user PIs exhibit superior capabilities in turning generic technology into several selected market applications, with no negative effects on their academic role. Overall, we develop a holistic view of synergies stemming from the scientist and user sides and offer insights into academic entrepreneurship and research project management.


Technology transfer User Academic entrepreneurship 

JEL Classification

O31 O32 M13 



The authors acknowledge with appreciation the helpful comments of Vincent Mangematin and two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Management DepartmentUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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