Product Information:-

  • Journals
  • Books
  • Case Studies
  • Regional information
Request a service from our experts.
Visit the JDAL journal page.

Digital Academic Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practices

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

Guests Editors

Giustina Secundo
University of Salento, Department of Innovation Engineering

Pierluigi Rippa

University of Naples Federico II, Department of Industrial Engineering

Michele Meoli

University of Bergamo, Department of Management, Information and Production Engineering,

Erik E. Lehmann

University of Augsburg, Department of Business and Economics

Aims and Scope
The rapid acceleration of digital technologies is reshaping markets and society globally (Nambisan et al., 2017; Kraus et al 2018), digitalization is opening up fascinating innovation opportunities for innovators, cretors and entrepreneurs (Carayannis et al, 2006; Yoo et al., 2010; Cohen et al, 2017; Nambisan , 2017; Ramaswamy and Ozcan, 2018), and governments have a role in stimulating technological development (Dolfsma and Seo, 2013).

Among the actors involved by these disruptive changes, universities are challenged in the way they pursue and interpret their threefold missions, i.e. education, research and “third mission” (Dalmarco et al, 2018; Etzkowitz , 2016; Secundo et al., 2017). As far as the latter is concerned, the impact of digital technologies has been intense on different activities, described as academic entrepreneurship (Rothaermel et al., 2007) and encompassing activities like research collaborations with industry, patent applications, transformation of innovative ideas in spin-offs, entrepreneurial education of highly skilled individuals, technology transfer or business incubators (Birtchnell, et al 2016; Shane, 2004; Mian et al., 2016; Horta et al., 2015; Somsuk and Laosirihongthong, 2014).

While these activities are mainly based on tacit knowledge spillovers and personal interactions, recent developments in the context of digitalization call for a revision and advancement of the academic entrepreneurship concept towards a digital focus, i.e. digital academic entrepreneurship (Rippa and Secundo, 2018). The possible combinations of digitalization in the university ecosystem results in a diversity of phenomena with significantly different characteristics and socio-economic impacts (Giones and Brem, 2017), overhauling the traditional mission of commercializing academic research (Siegel and Wright, 2015; Holley and Watson, 2017; Kalar and Antoncic, 2015).

This special issue is focused on the identification and description of academic entrepreneurship in times of digitalization, encompassing theoretical and empirical research on academic entrepreneurship to take account of these changes so as to improve the rigor and relevance of future studies on this topic for academics, managers and policy makers. Digital academic entrepreneurship is characterized by a high level of utilization of new digital technologies to improve the emerging forms of academic entrepreneurship, such as the development of digital spinoffs and alumni start-ups, the creation of entrepreneurial competence supported by digital platforms and a broader range of innovation development that goes beyond the region (Rippa and Secundo, 2018). Digital academic entrepreneurship engages more stakeholders through the use of digital technologies to develop the academic entrepreneurial process. A holistic perspective about academic entrepreneurship is indeed required to posit new directions for research about the impact of digital technologies.

The implications of the digital revolution for academic entrepreneurship are likely to be addressed with reference to a variety of issues. Over the past decade, in fact, a number of studies have shown that the individual academic entrepreneur, their entrepreneurial motivations and growth ambitions (Lam, 2011), social networks (Chang, 2017; Rasmussen et al., 2015), backgrounds (O’Gorman et al., 2008), access to resources (Wright et al., 2007), capabilities (Huinh et al., 2017) and scientific legitimacy (Civera and Meoli, 2017) are critical factors in the function and long-term success of university spinoffs. Recently, Hayter et al. (2017) investigated the role of graduate students in early-stage university spinoff companies. Moreover, other studies investigated how design could be used as a mechanism to connect and align stakeholders in the context of academic entrepreneurship where different expertise and interests work together in joint endeavors (Simeone et al., 2017a & 2017b).

Still, how digital technologies are affecting the way individuals face innovation processes and, eventually, new academic firms’ creation, is yet to be addressed. While the role of universities in generating and locally transmitting knowledge spillovers is undisputed (Audretsch and Lehmann, 2005), this does not necessarily hold for digital spillovers. Digital technologies become the dominant source for innovation in all the above activities characterizing the academic entrepreneurship (Rayna et al, 2015). Even if this phenomenon has been analyzed for organizations in general, suggesting the rise of a new category of entrepreneurship (i.e. digital entrepreneurship), leveraging digital technologies in order to shift the traditional way of creating and doing business in the digital era, to the best of our knowledge the impact of digital revolution on academic entrepreneurship remains not sufficiently addressed.

Following the call from Siegel and Wright (2015) for future research on academic entrepreneurship, with this special issue we would like to foster discussion between researchers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers on the impact of digitalization on academic entrepreneurship as a future research agenda. Specifically, this special issue aims to understand and study:

  • the rationale for the adoption of digital technologies for academic entrepreneurship (why),
  • the stakeholders involved through the digital technologies to achieve the goal (who),
  • the new forms of digital academic entrepreneurship (what),
  • and the processes supported by digital technologies for academic entrepreneurship (how).

We acknowledge the complexity and richness of digital academic entrepreneurship issues, and would like to understand the phenomenon from different perspectives, trying to provide a contribution to theory, practices and policy makers by providing new theories, frameworks, models and cases to foster its development. This new wave of digital academic entrepreneurship will introduce substantial challenges on how to handle technology, management, government policies and stakeholders’ engagement.

The main goal of this special issue is therefore to investigate the effects of digital technologies on academic entrepreneurship activities, bridging and combining two consolidated streams of literature, digitalization and academic entrepreneurship to form digital academic entrepreneurship. The purpose of this special issue is to identify the relationships, connectivity and interdependencies between digitalization and academic entrepreneurship. This special issue aims to increase our understanding of digital academic entrepreneurship and the implications and challenges for practitioners and policy makers of this new research agenda.

Possible Topics
The Guest Editors encourage submissions of theoretical, conceptual and empirical contributions investigating the impact of the digital revolution on academic entrepreneurship taking in consideration the value, processes, activities and stakeholders involved.

Topics/issues of interest include, but are not limited to:

The value generated by digital technologies on academic entrepreneurship: What value does academic entrepreneurship derive from the revolution of digital technologies? How can digital technologies enhance knowledge transfer and technology transfer between universities and industry? Why might digital technologies develop social value for academic entrepreneurship?

Emerging forms of academic entrepreneurship supported by digital technologies: What are the major challenges facing academic entrepreneurship stakeholders (faculty members, businesses and students) due to the digital technologies revolution? Which academic entrepreneurship activities/processes are more influenced by the technological revolution? What emerging forms of technology transfer offices (TTOs) activities are supported by digital technologies? Which typologies of research collaboration between universities and industry are better supported by digital technologies?

Stakeholders involved in digital academic entrepreneurship: Who are the ‘crowds’ that contribute to academic entrepreneurship thanks to the adoption of digital technologies? Who are the main stakeholders collectively contributing to the creation of a Digital Entrepreneurship Ecosystem for universities? Which digital technologies better support the interplay between academia and external stakeholders such as industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government institutions, investment funds, and TTOs?

Processes and modes facilitating digital academic entrepreneurship: How do digital technologies support knowledge sharing and opportunity recognition for academic entrepreneurship? How can social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) enhance entrepreneurial students’ involvement in academic entrepreneurship? How does digitalization affect ecosystems for supporting student start-ups? How do technological evolutions influence entrepreneurial social networks: virtual vs. real network?

How to achieve this strategic objective requires deeper understanding and empathy from both directions: by the 'business, management and technology' community on the one hand and by the ‘digital technology’ community on the other hand. The Special Issue will help to untangle and articulate questions for future research in academic entrepreneurship and digital technology.

Papers should be submitted via the journal’s online submission system available through the journal homepage. When submitting please choose the special issue: “Digital Academic Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practices” as the article type from the drop down menu. All papers must follow the guidelines outlined by the journal for submission, available at:

For any questions interested authors can contact the corresponding guest editor: Giustina Secundo (

Submission deadline: 30th June 2019


Audretsch, D. B., & Lehmann, E. E. (2005). Does the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship hold for regions?, Research Policy, 34(8), 1191-1202.
Birtchnell, T., Böhme, T., & Gorkin, R. (2016). 3D printing and the third mission: The university in the materialization of intellectual capital. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 123, 240-249.
Carayannis, E. G., Popescu, D., Sipp, C., & Stewart, M. (2006). Technological learning for entrepreneurial development (TL4ED) in the knowledge economy (KE): case studies and lessons learned, Technovation, 26(4), 419-443.
Chang, S. H. (2017). The technology networks and development trends of university-industry collaborative patents. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 118, 107-113.
Civera, A., & Meoli, M. (2017). Does university prestige foster the initial growth of academic spin-offs?, Journal of Industrial and Business Economics (Economia e Politica Industriale), forthcoming.
Cohen, B., Amorós, J.E. and Lundyd, L. (2017) The generative potential of emerging technology to support startups and new ecosystems, Business Horizon, 60 (6), 741-745.
Dalmarco, G., Hulsink, W., & Blois, G. V. (2018). Creating entrepreneurial universities in an emerging economy: Evidence from Brazil. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 135, 99-111.
Dolfsma, W., & Seo, D. (2013). Government policy and technological innovation—a suggested typology, Technovation, 33(6), 173-179.
Etzkowitz, H. (2016). Innovation Lodestar: The entrepreneurial university in a stellar knowledge firmament. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 123 (122-129).
Giones, F. and Brem, A. (2017). Digital Technology Entrepreneurship: A Definition and Research Agenda, Technology Innovation Management Review, 7 (5), 44-51.
Hayter, C. S., Lubynsky, R., and Maroulis, S. (2017). Who is the academic entrepreneur? The role of graduate students in the development of university spinoff, Journal of Technology Transfer, 42(6), 1237-1254.
Holley, A. C., & Watson, J. (2017). Academic Entrepreneurial Behavior: Birds of more than one feather, Technovation, 64, 50-57.
Horta, H., Meoli, M., & Vismara, S. (2016). Skilled unemployment and the creation of academic spin-offs: a recession-push hypothesis, Journal of Technology Transfer, 41(4), 798-817.
Huynh, T., Patton, D., Arias-Aranda, D., & Molina-Fernández, L.M., (2017) University spin-off's performance: Capabilities and networks of founding teams at creation phase, Journal of Business Research, Volume 78, September, Pages 10-22
Kalar, B. and Antoncic, B. (2015).The entrepreneurial university, academic activities and technology and knowledge transfer in four European countries, Technovation (36/37), 1-11.
Kraus, S., Palmer, C., Kailer, N., Kallinger, F. L., & Spitzer, J. (2018). Digital entrepreneurship: A research agenda on new business models for the twenty-first century. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.
Lam, A. (2011). What motivates academic scientists to engage in research commercialization:‘Gold’,‘Ribbon’or ‘Puzzle’?, Research policy, 40(10), 1354-1368.
Mian, S., Lamine, W., & Fayolle, A. (2016). Technology Business Incubation: An overview of the state of knowledge, Technovation, 50, 1-12.
Nambisan, S. (2017). Digital entrepreneurship: Toward a digital technology perspective of entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 41(6), 1029–1055.  
Nambisan, S., Lyytinen, K., Majchrzak, A. and M. Song. (2017). Digital innovation management: Reinventing innovation management research in a digital world, MIS Quarterly, 41(1), 223-238.
O’Gorman, C., Byrne, O., & Pandya, D. (2008). How scientists commercialise new knowledge via entrepreneurship, Journal of Technology Transfer, 33, 23–43
Rasmussen, E., Mosey, S., & Wright, M. (2015). The transformation of network ties to develop entrepreneurial competencies for spin-offs, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 27(7/8), 430–457.
Rayna, T., Striukova, L., and Darlington, J. (2015). Co-creation and user innovation: The role of online 3D printing platforms, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 37, 90-102.
Rippa, P. and Secundo, G. (2018) Digital Academic Entrepreneurship: The potential of digital technologies on academic entrepreneurship, Technological Forecasting & Social Change,
Rothaermel, F. T., Agung, S. D., & Jiang, L. (2007). University entrepreneurship: a taxonomy of the literature, Industrial and corporate change, 16(4), 691-791.
Ramaswamy, v., & Ozcan, K., (2018), What is co-creation? An interactional creation framework and its implications for value creation, Journal of Business Research, Volume 84, March, Pages 196-205
Secundo, G., Elena- Perez, S., Martinaitis, Ž, Leitner, K. H., (2017) An Intellectual Capital framework to measure third mission activities, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 123, 229-239.
Siegel, D. S., and Wright, M. (2015). Academic entrepreneurship: time for a rethink? British Journal of Management, 26(4), 582-595.
Simeone, L., and Secundo, G., and Schiuma, G. (2017a) Arts and design as translational mechanisms for academic entrepreneurship: The metaLAB at Harvard case study, Journal of Business Research,
Simeone, L., Secundo, G and Schiuma, G. (2017b) Fostering academic entrepreneurship through design-as-translation to align stakeholders’ needs: The MIT SENSEable City Lab case”, Technovation, (64/65), 58-67.
Somsuk, N., and Laosirihongthong, T. (2014). A fuzzy AHP to prioritize enabling factors for strategic management of university business incubators: Resource-based view. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 85, 198-210.
Wright, M., Clarysse, B., Mustar, P., & Lockett, A. (2007). Academic entrepreneurship in Europe. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar
Yoo, Y., Henfridsson, O., and Lyytinen, K. (2010). The new organizing logic of digital innovation: an agenda for information systems research, Information Systems Research, 21(4), 724-735.
Short biography of Guest Editors:

Giustina Secundo is Assistant Professor and Senior Researcher in Management Engineering at the Department of Innovation Engineering at the University of Salento (Lecce, Italy) and she has recently qualified to the position of Full Professor and Associate Professor (Italian Ministry of University and Research). Her research expertise is focused on Academic Entrepreneurship, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Education, University Intellectual Capital Management and Knowledge Transfer in Open Innovation. On these areas she has published 150 international papers. Her research has appeared in Technovation, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Journal of Knowledge Management and Business Process Management. She sits on the board of Journal of Intellectual Capital, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research and International Journal of Knowledge and Learning. She has been the Lecturer of Project Management in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Salento since 2001. In 2014 and 2015, she was a visiting researcher at the Innovation Insights Hub at the University of the Arts London (UK).  E-mail:

Pierluigi Rippa is Associate Professor in the School of Managerial Engineering, Federico II University of Naples, Italy. He is the chief of the technology transfer office of the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Naples Federico II. He was a visiting researcher at California State University, Chico, US, and at Wayne State University, Michigan, US. His research interests include Innovation, Open Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He has been the 2014 president elect of the Global Information and Technology Management Association. He serves on the editorial board of European Journal of Innovation Management, Journal of Global Information and Technology Management, International Journal of e-Politics and International Journal of Web Based Learning and Teaching Technologies.

Michele Meoli is Assistant Professor of Financial Economics at the Department of Economics and Technology Management at the University of Bergamo, and deputy director of the CisAlpino Institute for Comparative Studies in Europe (CCSE, an initiative of the University of Bergamo and the University of Augsburg) where he coordinates the Research Group on Higher Education. His research interests include corporate governance, academic entrepreneurship, higher education, and science policy. He has been a Guest Editor for Special Issues on Technological Forecasting and Social Change and on Higher Education Quarterly. His recent scientific works appeared in several international journals, including Corporate Governance: An International Review, Economic Modelling, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Higher Education, Higher Education Policy, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Corporate Finance, Journal of Small Business Management, Journal of Technology Transfer, Regional Studies, Research Policy, Small Business Economics, Studies in Higher Education, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

Erik E. Lehmann is a Full Professor of Management and Organization and Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Augsburg (Germany), Adjunct Professor at Indiana University/Bloomington (USA) and Visiting Professor at the University of Bergamo (Italy) and Newcastle Business School (UK). His research is focused on the links between corporate governance, entrepreneurial firms, innovation, public policy, higher education and innovation systems, financial constraints as well as regional and global competition. He has published in leading journals such as Research Policy, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Review of Finance, Small Business Economics, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Journal of Small Business Management, Industry & Innovation, Review of Accounting and Finance, Journal of Technology Transfer, and The International Journal of the Economics of Business among others. He has further published several books on the themes of entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth with leading publishers such as Oxford University Press, Springer and Routledge and serves as an associate editor of Small Business Economics and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Technology Transfer.