Conceptualizing academic entrepreneurship ecosystems: a review, analysis and extension of the literature

Christopher Hayter, Andrew J. Nelson, Stephanie Zayed, Alan C. O’Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Policy-related discussions increasingly view universities as so-called “engines of economic growth”. Recognizing that the economic impact of universities is dependent, at least in part, on the success of university-affiliated entrepreneurial ventures, this paper reviews the extant literature to understand how academic entrepreneurship is conceptualized and the extent to which it adopts an ecosystem approach. We find that scholars have largely focused on individual ecosystem elements and characteristics, eschewing strategic and systemic conceptualizations of entrepreneurship ecosystems. As a result, we argue that the ecosystem perspective has not been fully leveraged to influence policy decisions. We conclude by offering several concrete recommendations on future research directions that, if pursued, would further enhance our understanding of the economic impact of universities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1082
Number of pages44
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Academic entrepreneurship
  • Economic development
  • Ecosystems
  • Entrepreneurship policy
  • Technology transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting
  • Engineering(all)


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