The role of the university entrepreneurial ecosystem in entrepreneurial finance: case studies of UK innovation knowledge centres

Robyn Owen, Lakshminarasimhan Vedanthachari, Javed Hussain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How to commercialize university research and create positive socio-economic impact is a fundamental research question that is under explored. Considerable public funds are invested in universities globally to create knowledge and then to explore its viability to exploit commercial value through supporting entrepreneurship. We explore how publicly funded research and commercialization of projects promote university’s science and technology (S&T) initiatives. Qualitative case studies, involving 45 interviews, examine three UK government-funded Innovation Knowledge Centres’ (IKCs) roles in commercializing three different emerging disruptive technologies: cyber security, digital construction and synthetic biology. An improved entrepreneurial finance (“entfin”) ecosystem is the catalyst to promote innovation, through public funds to empower industry and deliver an effective finance escalator. A “WHO” policy analysis framework examines: the “Why” rationale for public investment; “How” process of translation; and “Outcomes”. This identified how Entrepreneurial Finance combined with Intermediaries, Infrastructure, Training and Leadership impacts scientific research commercialization. We reveal several inter connectors that link maturity of projects, their locality and outcome horizons. Universities play an important intermediary role, regionally and globally to connect the wider entfin ecosystems. The conclusions suggest that government needs to improve the policy mix across university ecosystem actors to improve long horizon investment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalVenture Capital
Early online date4 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 May 2023


  • entrepreneurial finance
  • policy appraisal
  • science technology ecosystem
  • entrepreneurship support

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