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A shift in the research direction
Förderjahr 2016 / Stipendien Call #11 / ProjektID: 1972 / Projekt: The Role of TU Wien in the Viennese Startup Ecosystem

Universities play a vital role in educating global leaders and facilitating innovations and technological progress. Nonetheless, embedding a culture for entrepreneurship and innovation and expanding the mission of universities outside the core functions of teaching and research is challenging.

To date, the focus has been on literature review and secondary data collection covering the main entrepreneurial pillars of startup ecosystems and how to create, adapt and develop university-based entrepreneurial ecosystems. Since Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien) is at the forefront of this thesis, a great emphasize was pun on potential metrics for assessing the current status of this university-based ecosystem, its transition towards the new concept of an ‘entrepreneurial university’ and its involvement and influence on the Viennese startup and spin-out scene. A close review of the studies already existing on this topic revealed a use-case centric approach lacking a theoretical framework for assessing (university based) entrepreneurial ecosystems. This discovery has caused an adjustment in the research questions and objectives of the thesis towards a better understanding of the conjunctions between environmental and internal conditions necessary for blending teaching with research and entrepreneurship and towards bringing to the forefront a model/framework which can be used to measure STEM-oriented entrepreneurial universities. After all, an entrepreneurial university should not only foster and reinforce entrepreneurship among its students and researchers, but also develop support techniques, administrative strategies and measures that ensure the proper institutional configuration which cultivates both exploration and exploitation of knowledge and developed technology.

As a result of the thus far analysis of the information, reports and research studies available, a list of immediate and long term metrics have been defined. The immediate metrics have been integrated into tree survey studies which will be conducted with TU Wien researchers, students and alumni. The result of the studies should reflect the influence TUW-related professionals have had in the Viennese ecosystem in the past years. Nonetheless, the challenge lies in the assessment of the long-term commitment of the university as well as the motivation and commitment of its students and researchers towards entrepreneurship and innovation. The revised problem statement, aim of the work, research goal, methodology and the survey studies are currently under review by the thesis advisor. These changes have caused a small delay in the initially planned milestones, moving the schedule down with approximately one month.

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