Industry and Innovation Call for Papers: Special Issue

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Academia 

Industry and Innovation

Through their missions of education, research and innovation, higher education institutions  play a crucial role in the production and dissemination of knowledge. Besides publishing  scientific articles and educating candidates for the labor market, they also contribute to  economic growth and competitiveness by creating opportunities that can be commercially  exploited (e.g. Fritsch and Schwirten, 1999; McKelvey and Zaring, 2017; Goel, Göktepe-Hultén  & Grimpe, 2017). This trend towards universities acting as a catalyst for entrepreneurial  activity is at the heart of the academic entrepreneurship phenomenon (Etzkowitz, Webster,  Gebhardt, & Terra, 2000). In fact, universities can be regarded as entrepreneurial hubs with  multiple  and  integrated  knowledge-based  functions  that  range  from  the  traditional  development of pure knowledge and technology, to contributions to innovative ecosystems,  to their role as a catalyst for innovation performance and community engagement (McKelvey  and Zaring, 2017; Smith and Bagchi‐Sen, 2006). 

The justification to use academic and intellectual resources for entrepreneurial activities is  found in the ability of academics to be creative and to contribute to our knowledge society  (Audretsch, Lehmann and Wright, 2014). Academic excellence in the three university missions  is thus a prerequisite for generating not only international acknowledgment but also for the  future  progress  and  entrepreneurial  advancement  of  societies.  Being  able  to  optimally  generate and use these resources of academia helps to attract attention by policy makers,  university managers and business developers (Grimpe and Hussinger, 2013).

First, concerning the traditional education mission, academic excellence can be brought  forward by both supporting creative, entrepreneurial thinkers as well as equipping them with  necessary skills to establish new businesses. Engaging in innovative activities is not limited to  new  business  creation,  but  can  also  be  found  in  corporate  entrepreneurship.  Second,  excellence in the research mission can be traced in terms of bibliometric analyses and by  making use of suitable indicators of local and/or global spillovers. Third, higher education  institutions contribute more directly to the development of innovative technologies that  generate social and economic welfare. Being (or becoming) excellent in academia is thus  crucial as knowledge creation, university‐industry relations and science‐based entrepreneurial  firms are key components of academic excellence.

This special issue aims to contribute to the understanding and evaluation of how academic  excellence  affects  the  processes  through  which  innovative  knowledge  is  created  and  translated to a technological advantage. Positive as well as negative effects are likely to be  identified, especially with reference to:

  • University  attractiveness  for  star  scientists,  given  that  star  scientists  or  star  institutions, incentive structures and competitive elements are expected to be more  relevant  within  respective  peer  groups  than  in  the  overall  population  (Agrawal,  McHale, and Oettl, 2017);      
  • Relevance and impact of research group activity, allowing a better understanding of  the interplay of individuals, institutions and systemic factors in facilitating applicable  knowledge to technological, scientific and societal progress (Egeln, Gottschalk, and  Rammer, 2004; Perkmann et al., 2013);      
  • Allocation mechanisms for resources dedicated to innovative activities, given that the  evaluation  of  excellence  within  the  university‐specific  context,  as  well  as  the  connected  peer‐group  specific  mechanisms  that  foster  innovative  activities  and  knowledge production, supports academic engagement that benefits the community  (Braunerhjelm, 2008);      
  • Governance  specific  issues,  given  that  academic  entrepreneurship  is  reliant  on  efficient  internal  and  external  governance  mechanisms  to  bridge  the  so‐called  knowledge filter (Audretsch, 2014).

Research Topics 

Possible topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • Innovation and entrepreneurial activities in higher education institutions

Which arrangement, policies or managerial activities lead to entrepreneurial activities  for the involved individuals, groups or institutions? What influences patenting or spinoff  activities? How can industry links, managerial practices or political instruments facilitate  a contribution to the third mission of universities? What are the consequences and  spillover effects for the ecosystem if universities engage in entrepreneurial activities?

  • The role of governance and leadership in higher education institutions 

What and how do incentives, sanctions or structures influence university managers on  a micro‐level and university systems on a macro‐level? What role do governing bodies  like  rectors  or  boards  of  directors  play  for  higher  education  institutions?  What  leadership skills influence universities on the first, second and third mission? How do  characteristics of managing bodies influence entrepreneurial output? 

  • Peer group and star effects in science and academic entrepreneurship 

What  role  does  the  peer  group  play  in  motivating  and  coordinating  academic  employees? What influences academic entrepreneurship from a peer group, rather than  an overall, perspective? What are the determinants of excellence with respect to  organization and/or peer group specific means and restrictions?

  • Financing innovation and entrepreneurial activity in higher education institutions 

How are new forms of financing influencing the entrepreneurial output of universities?  What  role  does  digitalization  play  in  the  financing  context,  e.g.  with  regards  to  crowdfunding? What are alternative sources of finance and how do higher education  institutions, society and politics use and perceive them? In what ways are different  financing mechanisms influencing universities’ decisions and business models?

  • Comparative and international studies on the impact of higher education institutions 

What can we learn from a cross‐country comparison? What are the micro‐ and the  macro‐ perspectives on the higher education market? How do higher education systems  differ regionally or internationally? What are the effects of differing policy instruments  on respective institutions, their business models, or organizational strategies? How do  different higher education institutions react to incentives that should foster research or  entrepreneurship? What role does the internationalization of spinoffs play in differing  systems and why?

Submission Guidelines

Paper submissions will undergo rigorous editorial screening and double‐blind peer review by a minimum of two recognized scholars. The standard requirements of Industry and Innovation for submissions apply.  Please consult the journal submission guidelines available here.

Important Deadlines

Submissions to the Special Issue due by February 28, 2019

Publication of the Special Issue in 2020


Agrawal, A., McHale, J., & Oettl, A. (2017). How stars matter: Recruiting and peer effects in evolutionary biology. Research Policy, 46(4), 853‐867.

Audretsch, D.  B.  (2014).  From the entrepreneurial university to the university for the entrepreneurial society. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 39(3), 313‐321. 

Audretsch, D. B., Lehmann, E. E., & Wright, M. (2014). Technology transfer in a global economy. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 39(3), 301‐312.

Braunerhjelm, P. (2008). Specialization of Regions and Universities: The New Versus the Old.  Industry and innovation, 15(3), 253‐275. 

Egeln, J., Gottschalk, S., & Rammer, C. (2004). Location decisions of spin‐offs from public research institutions. Industry and innovation, 11(3), 207‐223. 

Etzkowitz, H., Webster, A., Gebhardt, C., & Terra, B. R. C. (2000). The future of the university and the university of the future: evolution of ivory tower to entrepreneurial paradigm.  Research Policy, 29(2), 313‐330. 

Fritsch, M., & Schwirten, C. (1999). Enterprise‐University Co‐operation and the Role of Public Research Institutions in Regional Innovation Systems. Industry and innovation, 6(1), 69‐83.  

Goel, R. K., Göktepe‐Hultén, D. & Grimpe, C. (2017). Who instigates university–industry collaborations?  University scientists versus firm employees.  Smalll Business Economics, 48(3), 503‐524. 

Grimpe, C., & Hussinger, K. (2013). Formal and informal knowledge and technology transfer from academia to industry: Complementarity effects and innovation performance.  Industry and innovation, 20(8), 683‐700. 

McKelvey, M., & Zaring, O. (2017). Co‐delivery of social innovations: exploring the university’s role in academic engagement with society. Industry and innovation, 25(6), 594‐611. 

Perkmann, M., Tartari, V., McKelvey, M., Autio, E., Broström, A., D’Este, P., . . . Sobrero, M.  (2013). Academic engagement and commercialisation: A review of the literature on university–industry relations. Research Policy, 42(2), 423‐442. 

Smith, H. L., & Bagchi‐Sen, S. (2006). University–industry interactions: the case of the UK biotech industry. Industry and innovation, 13(4), 371‐392.

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Erik Lehmann, University of Ausburg, Germany
  • Guest Editor: Michele Meoli, University of Bergamo, Italy
  • Guest Editor: Stefano Paleari, University of Bergamo, Italy
  • Guest Editor: Sarah Stockinger, University of Ausburg, Germany