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ERIC Number: ED531776
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 253
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-7757-3
Technology Transfer: A Case Study of Programs and Practices at NASA, DOD, DOC, and Academia
Blood, John R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Purdue University
Technology transfer is vital to humanity. It spurs innovation, promotes commerce, and provides technology-based goods and services. Technology transfer is also highly complex and interdependent in nature. This interdependence is exemplified principally by the various technology transfer interactions between government, industry, and academia. Although there is extensive technology transfer literature relevant to academic, science, business, and defense contexts, few studies either compare or contrast best/leading practices across multi-contextual settings; place emphasis on the receiver, user, or practitioner; or provide a conceptual model to serve as a guide to facilitate technology transfer. Given the importance of technology transfer, the problem observed was that the current methods, strategies, and models used to facilitate technology transfer were often incompatible when applied to multi-contextual settings. The purpose of this study was to investigate technology transfer programs and practices within the contextual settings of government, military, and academia. Selected to represent these contexts were four agencies and/or institution sets. (1) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): natural and scientific phenomena; (2) Department of Defense (DOD): defense and national security; (3) Department of Commerce (DOC): business, commerce, and government; (4) Academia: university. The specific objectives of this study were, with respect to each context, to: (1) identify and define barriers which inhibit technology transfer; (2) identify and define enablers which facilitate technology transfer; (3) compare and contrast technology transfer best/leading practices; and (4) develop and validate a generalized model to serve as a guide for individuals engaged in technology transfer. A case study approach was used to investigate each of the four targeted contexts. Subsequently, cross-case analysis was performed for the purpose of pattern and theme identification. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from each agency or institution were contacted to: (a) identify potential subjects to participate in an interview, and (b) obtain a list of referrals who were later asked to complete a survey questionnaire. Data collection consisted of mixed-methods: the interviews generated qualitative information and the survey instruments collected both qualitative and quantitative data. Both methods were linked to a three-dimensional technology transfer model which served as the conceptual framework for this study. Data obtained from the interviews and survey instruments was documented in tables and matrices. The project's deliverables consisted of: (1) A review and synthesis of the literature relevant to the topic of technology transfer. (2) Case studies (individual and cross-case) of successful and unsuccessful technology transfer programs and practices in each of the following contextual settings: NASA, DOD, DOC, and in academia. (3) A conceptual technology transfer model that facilitated this study and generated recommendations for future research. Each individual case provided an overview of the contextual setting studied. Data obtained from the interviews and surveys were incorporated into each case. The research findings noted common patterns and themes in each setting. The most important enablers included leadership, facilities, and personnel. Conversely, data collected revealed that collaborative partnerships were time and resource consuming and often ineffective since many people were located off-site. In addition, best/leading practices, although important, were difficult to implement across organizations with different missions, statutory authority, and cultures. Lastly, technology transfer metrics were often misreported or otherwise taken out of context. This was especially prevalent in academia. This study concluded that technology transfer is more about people than paperwork. A 12-point set of recommendations for technology transfer was generated. A future implication suggested that the burgeoning demand for technology coupled with obsolescence, time constraints, and other barriers will make technology transfer all the more challenging but necessary. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A