Bridging the valley of death: The rhetoric of technology transfer
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This participant observer case study examines a new university institute that was established in 2007 to advance IT research and commercialization and to bridge the valley of death, a metaphor often used to describe the gap between university research and its commercialization. Using cluster analysis, this case study draws on Burke and Bourdieu to analyze the ways that rhetorical figures function to stabilize technology transfer by providing a framework for measuring its value and success. At the same time, that framework is always being constituted and is always contested. One key finding was a tension between a traditional Mode 1 conception of research and a more entrepreneurial Mode 2 conception, in which knowledge production is diffuse, crossing disciplinary and university boundaries. This case study highlights important trends in technology transfer, specifically in how university research is valued and success is defined by various stakeholders.