Analytical academic engagement frameworks have been unable to fully explain commercialisation success (Perkmann, Tartari et al. 2013). Meanwhile, the development of academic and industry links through relationship marketing has been shown to be of importance for understanding how and why relationships between individuals contribute to innovation (Plewa, Korff et al. 2013, Tartari, Perkmann et al. 2014). However, the embryonic stages of relationship development in the university-industry environment have received little attention.
Innovation actors often have differences in the level of complexity and the level of maturity of the technology that they wish to commercialise. Clinicians are a special group as they search for new knowledge from disparate emerging fields such as biotechnology, cell therapy or advanced materials to resolve patient issues. They are uniquely positioned to identify how advances in technology might be translated into customer (patient) requirements and deliver potential new products.
The aim of this study is to understand if the experience and expectation of clinicians wanting to initiate a relationship to commercialise knowledge with universities (in an Australian context) is similar to that of other industry actors working in mature manufacturing industries who are the traditional nexus for commercialisation through integration of market, design and manufacturing knowledge (Gupta, Raj et al. 1986, Ruekert and Walker 1987, Baldwin and von Hippel 2011).