The dynamics of academic entrepreneurship: connecting universities and the ecosystem

Bernd Wurth, Susan Howick, Niall MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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To advance the field of academic entrepreneurship, the system, university and individual level can no longer be treated separately but need to be described and understood as an ecosystem in order to identify drivers and understand the dynamics. This conceptual paper proposes a framework based on feedback thinking, aggregation and complex adaptive systems that connects the university’s and the business’ perspective. A hybrid model with an integrated system dynamics (SD) / agent-based modelling (ABM) approach will then be proposed to operationalise the framework, in which universities are represented as SD modules that shape the environment for the established companies and start-ups, represented as a set of agents. The SD feedback structure acknowledges and reflects the consequences of entrepreneurial activities for and the influence of the ecosystem on the university. First, this framework advances our understanding of ecosystems by formulating a theoretical foundation for an ecosystem model that is capable of representing the interactions between its components. Furthermore, it will allow for the examination of dynamic interplays between universities and their ecosystem. The insights from this model have far-reaching implications for universities, intermediate organisations and policy makers at national and regional levels. Further research trajectories are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2015
EventTechnology Transfer Society Conference - College of Business, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 28 Oct 201530 Oct 2016


ConferenceTechnology Transfer Society Conference


  • academic entrepreneurship
  • entrepreneurial university
  • ecosystem
  • complex adaptive systems
  • feedback
  • aggregation


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