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Token endeavors: The significance of academic spin-offs in technology transfer and research policy in Germany


  • Andreas Knie
  • Martin Lengwiler


Based on the principal-agent theory, this paper analyses the historical emergence of policies supporting spin-off activities since the end of the Second World War, focusing on Germany as an exemplary case study. It argues that the significance of spin-offs in research policy is not an effect of their hard-and-fast number or their direct economic impacts but rather of their symbolic meaning, providing legitimacy for academic institutions and funding agencies in controversial public debates about science and technological policies. Spin-offs, like technology transfer at large, are important to the rationale and legitimacy of science and research policy. Copyright , Beech Tree Publishing.

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  • Andreas Knie & Martin Lengwiler, 2008. "Token endeavors: The significance of academic spin-offs in technology transfer and research policy in Germany," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 171-182, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:scippl:v:35:y:2008:i:3:p:171-182

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    1. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:1:p:14-22 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Potthast, Jörg & Guggenheim, Michael, 2008. "Are academic spin-offs really doing science?," Discussion Papers, Research Group Science Policy Studies SP III 2008-602, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Potthast, Jörg, 2009. "Re-thinking science-industry relations along the interactive model: The case of academic spin-offs," Discussion Papers, Research Group Science Policy Studies SP III 2009-603, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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