Towards Hybrid Triple Helix Indicators: A Study of University-related Patents and a Survey of Inventors

Martin S. Meyer, Tatiana Siniläinen, Jan Timm Utecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents work directed at capturing the entrepreneurial and collaborative activity of university researchers. The Triple Helix points to the emergence of the entrepreneurial university as well as to an increasing overlay of activities in universities, industry and government. This study explores ways in which patent-based metrics could be utilized in a Triple Helix context, and how hybrid indicators could be developed by combining patent with survey data. More specifically, it aims to develop indicators that connect technological inventiveness of university researchers to both funding organizations and users, as well as to entrepreneurial activities by academics. The paper develops a simplified model of the innovation process to benchmark the relevance of the indicators to the Triple Helix. An analysis of Finnish academic patents illustrates that patent data can already provide useful indicators but, on its own, cannot provide information about how academic patents are interconnected with government or industry through funding or utilization links. An exclusive analysis of patents can point to patent concentrations on certain universities, to inventors and assignees, or to potential gaps in translating applied science into industrial technology. However, the patent data had to be combined with an inventor survey in order to relate academic patents more to their Triple Helix environment. The survey indicated that most patented academic inventions are connected to (often publicly funded) scientific research by the inventors and tend to be utilized in large firms rather than in start-up companies founded by academic entrepreneurs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-350
Number of pages30
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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