European Academic Spin-Offs: Exploring the Barriers to Long-Term Success




An academic spin-off (ASO) is an enterprise that is founded by researchers or students associated with a university or research institution. ASOs typically commercialize new technologies, products, or services that are based on results of academic research. However, ASOs often face barriers to long-term success. These barriers severely limit the economic and social impact of the research and innovation from ASOs, as well as discourage future researchers from starting their own ASOs. Furthermore, barriers can vary depending on the region and the industry and increase the complexity of this issue. So far very little research has been done to examine the barriers to ASOs in general or in specific industries and regions. Thus, the research question emerges as to what the general barriers to long-term success for ASOs in Europe are.


To increase the understanding of the spin-off creation process, we conduct a systematic literature review of existing literature about ASOs and their barriers in general. Previous approaches already classify barriers into micro, meso, and macro levels. Other models exist that examine the spinning-off process with respect to a temporal level. In order to combine both dimensions, the frameworks mentioned above were merged in the first step and expanded with current research in the second step with a particular focus on barriers to long term success. Barriers for ASOs need to be addressed more in depth in order to fully realize their potential and to expand upon the existing literature of the general barriers of ASOs in Europe.


Exploring these barriers yielded first results which include a limited access to funding and resources, lack of understanding of the creation of a business model, furthermore a lack of infrastructure and difficulty in establishing and sustaining a network with industry partners. Addressing these barriers will require targeted policies, funding, and training programs that enhance entrepreneurial skills and promote collaboration between ASOs and industry partners. Our findings provide insights that can help to improve the success rate of ASOs in Europe and encourage the development of innovative solutions to address societal challenges.