Are Open Innovation and Entrepreneurial Intentions complements or substitutes for the successful commercialization of academic Breakthrough Technologies?


  • Mariëlle Feenstra Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
  • Christian Hopp Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland
  • Gernot Pruschak Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland
  • Claudia Werker Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands; TIME Research Area, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany



Entrepreneurial Intentions, Open Innovation, Breakthrough Technology, Breakthrough Innovation


This paper investigates the interplay between open innovation activities and entrepreneurial intentions in the commercialization process of research results originating from academia. Through qualitative case study research, we identify theoretical mechanisms through the qualitative analysis of five case studies. Our results show that inbound and coupled open innovation activities compensate for lower entrepreneurial intentions among academically oriented scientists. However, establishing partnerships remains challenging, particularly in pre-prototyping phases. Nevertheless, our findings point towards social entrepreneurial intentions as fruitful avenues for stimulating entrepreneurial behaviour in academic scientists


Ajzen, I. 1991. The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2): 179-211.

Atteberry, A., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. 2015. Do first impressions matter? Predicting early career teacher effectiveness. AERA Open, 1(4): 2332858415607834.

Balven, R., Fenters, V., Siegel, D. S., & Waldman, D. 2018. Academic entrepreneurship: The roles of identity, motivation, championing, education, work-life balance, and organizational justice. Academy of Management Perspectives, 32(1), 21-42.

Barczak, G., Hopp, C., Kaminski, J., Piller, F., & Pruschak, G. 2022. How open is innovation research?–An empirical analysis of data sharing among innovation scholars. Industry and Innovation, 29(2): 186-218.

Beck, S., Bergenholtz, C., Bogers, M., Brasseur, T. M., Conradsen, M. L., Di Marco, D., ... & Xu, S. M. 2022. The Open Innovation in Science research field: a collaborative conceptualisation approach. Industry and Innovation, 29(2): 136-185.

Beck, S., LaFlamme, M., Bergenholtz, C., Bogers, M., Brasseur, T. M., Conradsen, M. L., ... & Xu, S. M. 2023. Examining Open Innovation in Science (OIS): what Open Innovation can and cannot offer the science of science. Innovation, 25(3): 221-235.

Belitski, M., Aginskaja, A., & Marozau, R. 2019. Commercializing university research in transition economies: Technology transfer offices or direct industrial funding?. Research Policy, 48(3): 601-615.

Bhat, I. H., & Singh, S. 2018. Analyzing the moderating effect of entrepreneurship education on the antecedents of entrepreneurial intention. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 21(1), 1-10.

Bornmann, L. 2013. What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? A literature survey. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(2): 217-233.

Charmaz, K. 2006. Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide Through Qualitative Analysis. London: Sage Publishing.

Charmaz, K. 2007. Tensions in qualitative research. Sociologisk Forskning, 44(3), 76-85.

Chesbrough, H. 2017. The future of open innovation: The future of open innovation is more extensive, more collaborative, and more engaged with a wider variety of participants. Research-Technology Management, 60(1): 35-38.

Chesbrough, H. W. 2003. Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Cambridge: Harvard Business Press.

Chesbrough, H., & Crowther, A. K. 2006. Beyond high tech: early adopters of open innovation in other industries. R&D Management, 36(3): 229-236.

Cohen, W. M., Nelson, R. R., & Walsh, J. P. 2002. Links and impacts: The influence of public research on industrial R&D. Management Science 48 (1): 1–23.

Criaco, G., Sieger, P., Wennberg, K., Chirico, F., & Minola, T. (2017). Parents’ performance in entrepreneurship as a “double-edged sword” for the intergenerational transmission of entrepreneurship. Small Business Economics, 49: 841-864.

Crocetti, E., Moscatelli, S., Van der Graaff, J., Rubini, M., Meeus, W., & Branje, S. 2016) The interplay of self–certainty and prosocial development in the transition from late adolescence to emerging adulthood. European Journal of Personality, 30(6): 594-607.

D’Este, P., & Patel, P. 2007. University–industry linkages in the UK: What are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry? Research Policy 36 (9): 1295–1313.

Datta, A., Mukherjee, D., & Jessup, L. 2015. Understanding commercialization of technological innovation: taking stock and moving forward. R&D Management, 45(3), 215-249.

Doanh, D. C. 2021. The role of contextual factors on predicting entrepreneurial intention among Vietnamese students. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 9(1), 169-188.

Eisenhardt, K. M. 1989. Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4): 532-550.

Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E. 2007. Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 25-32.

Enkel, E., Gassmann, O., & Chesbrough, H. 2009. Open R&D and open innovation: exploring the phenomenon. R&D Management, 39(4): 311-316.

Etzkowitz, H., & Viale, R. 2010. Polyvalent knowledge and the entrepreneurial university: A third academic revolution? Critical Sociology, 36(4): 595-609.

European Commission. 2012. A European strategy for Key Enabling Technologies – A Bridge to Growth and Jobs. Brussels: European Commission. URL: [10 September 2021].

Fecher, B., & Hebing, M. 2021. How do researchers approach societal impact?. Plos One, 16(7): e0254006.

Franzoni, C., & Lissoni, F. 2006. Academic Entrepreneurship, Patents, and Spin-Offs: Critical Issues and Lessons for Europe. Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi. Working Paper n. 180.

Gartner, W: B., Shaver, K. G., Gatewood, E., Katz, J. A. 1994. Finding the entrepreneur in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 18(3): 5-9.

González Fernández, S., Kubus, R., & Mascareñas Pérez-Iñigo, J. 2019. Innovation ecosystems in the EU: Policy evolution and horizon Europe proposal case study (the Actors’ perspective). Sustainability, 11(17), 4735.

Gray, R. 2019. Turning Science Into Business Is About Recognising Opportunity. Brussels: European Commission. URL: [19 April 2024].

Grimpe, C., & Fier, H. 2010. Informal university technology transfer: A comparison between the United States and Germany. Journal of Technology Transfer 35 (6): 637–650.

Hockerts, K. 2017. Determinants of social entrepreneurial intentions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 41(1): 105-130.

Kautonen, T., Van Gelderen, M., & Fink, M. 2015. Robustness of the theory of planned behavior in predicting entrepreneurial intentions and actions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(3): 655-674.

Krueger Jr, N. F., Reilly, M. D., & Carsrud, A. L. 2000. Competing models of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Business Venturing, 15(5-6), 411-432.

Laakso, M., Welling, P., Bukvova, H., Nyman, L., Björk, B. C., & Hedlund, T. 2011. The development of open access journal publishing from 1993 to 2009. PloS One, 6(6): e20961.

Lee, L., Wong, P. K., Der Foo, M., & Leung, A. 2011. Entrepreneurial intentions: The influence of organizational and individual factors. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(1): 124-136.

Lüthje, C., & Franke, N. 2003. The ‚making‘ of an entrepreneur: Testing a model of entrepreneurial intent among engineering students at MIT. R&D Management, 33(2): 135-147.

Martin, B. R. 2012. Are universities and university research under threat? Towards an evolutionary model of university speciation. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 36(3): 543-565.

Neves, S., & Brito, C. 2020. Academic entrepreneurship intentions: A systematic literature review. Journal of Management Development, 39(5), 645-704.

Obschonka, M., Moeller, J., & Goethner, M. 2019. Entrepreneurial passion and personality: the case of academic entrepreneurship. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 400253.

Orazbayeva, B., & Plewa, C. 2022. Academic motivations to engage in university-business cooperation: a fuzzy set analysis. Studies in Higher Education, 47(3), 486-498.

Perkmann, M., & Walsh, K. 2008. Engaging the scholar: Three types of academic consulting and their impact on universities and industry. Research Policy 37 (10): 1884–1891.

Phillips, W., Lee, H., Ghobadian, A., O’regan, N., & James, P. 2015. Social innovation and social entrepreneurship: A systematic review. Group & Organization Management, 40(3): 428-461.

Philpott, K., Dooley, L., O'Reilly, C., & Lupton, G. 2011. The entrepreneurial university: Examining the underlying academic tensions. Technovation, 31(4): 161-170.

Saetre, A. S., Wiggins, J., Atkinson, O. T., & Atkinson, B. K. E. 2009. University spin-offs as technology transfer. Comparative Technology Transfer and Society, 7(2): 115-145.

Salmelin, B. 2013. The Horizon 2020 framework and open innovation ecosystems. Journal of Innovation Management, 1(2), 4-9.

Sauermann, H., Vohland, K., Antoniou, V., Balázs, B., Göbel, C., Karatzas, K., ... & Winter, S. 2020. Citizen science and sustainability transitions. Research Policy, 49(5): 103978.

Schenkel, M. T., D'Souza, R. R., Cornwall, J. R., & Matthews, C. H. 2015. Early influences and entrepreneurial intent: Examining the roles of education, experience, and advice networks. Journal of Small Business Strategy, 25(2): 1-20.

Schlaegel, C., & Koenig, M. 2014. Determinants of entrepreneurial intent: A meta–analytic test and integration of competing models. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 38(2): 291-332.

Schlaegel, C., Engle, R. L., Richter, N. F., & Taureck, P. C. 2021. Personal factors, entrepreneurial intention, and entrepreneurial status: A multinational study in three institutional environments. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 19(3), 357-398.

Shaw, J. 2023. Peer review in funding-by-lottery: A systematic overview and expansion. Research Evaluation, 32(1), 86-100.

Siggelkow, N. 2007. Persuasion with case studies. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 20-24.

Teixeira, S. J., Casteleiro, C. M. L., Rodrigues, R. G., & Guerra, M. D. 2018. Entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurship in European countries. International Journal of Innovation Science, 10(1), 22-42.

Tenhunen-Lunkka, A., & Honkanen, R. 2024. Project coordination success factors in European Union-funded research, development and innovation projects under the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programmes. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 13(1), 7.

Tortoriello, M., Reagans, R., & McEvily, B. 2012. Bridging the knowledge gap: The influence of strong ties, network cohesion, and network range on the transfer of knowledge between organizational units. Organization Science, 23(4): 1024-1039.

Urban, B., & Chantson, J. J. T. J. 2019. Academic entrepreneurship in South Africa: testing for entrepreneurial intentions. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 44, 948-980.

Waldman, D. A., Vaulont, M. J., Balven, R. M., Siegel, D. S., & Rupp, D. E. 2022. The role of justice perceptions in formal and informal university technology transfer. Journal of Applied Psychology, 107(8), 1397.

Wayne Gould, R. 2012. Open innovation and stakeholder engagement. Journal of Technology Management & Innovation, 7(3): 1-11.

West, J., & Bogers, M. 2014. Leveraging external sources of innovation: A review of research on open innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(4): 814-831.

Wright, M. 2014. Academic entrepreneurship, technology transfer and society: where next?. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 39: 322-334.

Zhao, H., Seibert, S. E., & Lumpkin, G. T. 2010. The relationship of personality to entrepreneurial intentions and performance: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Management, 36(2), 381-404.




How to Cite

Feenstra, M., Hopp, C., Pruschak, G., & Werker, C. (2024). Are Open Innovation and Entrepreneurial Intentions complements or substitutes for the successful commercialization of academic Breakthrough Technologies?. CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation, 8(1), 9–19.



ATTRACT Socio Economic Studies