Universities across the globe are increasingly engaged in translation and commercialization of their research outputs to demonstrate contributing to regional/national/global development. This is often referred to as ‘entrepreneurial university’ (Etzkowitz et al., 2000), encouraging the undertaking of entrepreneurial activities by the institution “…with the objective of improving regional or national economic performance as well as the university’s financial advantage and that of its faculty”. In publicly funded science, government and funding bodies (FAs) work together to set strategic agendas and implement corresponding funding schemes to incentivize specific research. Within this system, principal investigators (PIs) at the micro-level of science identify priorities, translate them into research programmes/projects, build consortia and produce scientific results.

PIs must lead projects across complex and increasingly subjective boundaries. Spanning such boundaries sees PIs creating linkages which integrate and coordinate across organizations. However, there remains a fuzzy zone with respect to the actual mechanisms by which scientific results are translated into meaningful macro-level contribution. This is problematic as it is important to understand how funded science contributes, not only to advancement in knowledge, but also is effectively translated to societal advantage and economic developments. To address this subject, we draw on entrepreneurship and human resource management literature to explore how PIs interpret and synthesize issues salient and complementary to triple helix stakeholders and ensure that sufficient strategic fit and value congruence is achieved. In essence, this research asks, how do PIs articulate and shape a path of value creation and transformation between the micro and macro levels?


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