Funded PhD Opportunity Developing the role of Value Creation and Value Capture in University Technology Transfer Business Models: A stakeholder ecosystem perspective

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Business and Management Studies


Open innovation models, where organisations exchange knowledge and resource sharing in networks, have emerged as an approach to overcoming the excessive costs, short cycle times and complexity associated with a single organisation bringing a product to market (closed innovation). Existing studies suggest that organisations pursue both open and closed approaches to innovation dependant on the market need for either value creation or value capture in a dynamically changing continuum to achieve and sustain alignment with rapid environment change.

This view challenges the binary conflation of value creation being mainly associated with open innovation and value capture with closed innovation. For example, Youtube has value capture through advertising revenue in a relatively open user-based innovation system. Most studies seeking to recognise these dynamic interchanges have been based on open source organisation contexts (e.g. Cisco) typically involving a focal firm (Linux for example) and the coordinated contributors broadly described as users (e.g. open developers of Linux codes). However, there have been calls for further research in contexts which involve a much wider ecosystem view of multiple mutually influencing stakeholders shaping value creation and value capture in relation to open and closed innovation.

Hence the suggested PhD research study is based on a University Technology Transfer (UTT) ecosystem where multiple stakeholders interact to achieve environmental alignment, value creation and value capture within dynamically changing open and closed innovation environments. It is argued that failure to maintain this dynamic response will lead to lack of sustainably of UTT by either failure of appropriate and timely value creation or value capture thus wasting considerable investment and limiting the potential for economic growth through UTT. In seeking to cognitively and practically represent these dynamics research suggests Business Model Innovation (BMI) has potential explanatory power where UTT hybrid BMs can coexist. These developments has resulted in the emergence of Quadruple Helix (QH) (university, government, industry and users) stakeholder-based ecosystems.

Research indicates there is a need for further research relating to the challenges faced by UTT QH stakeholders in developing representative UTT BMs to explore how the dynamic interactions lead to different representations of value creation, value capture, open and closed innovation which is the key focus of the suggested PhD research programme.

Therefore the aim of this suggested PhD study is to make a contribution to knowledge by exploring how value creation and value capture in UTT are developed through the dynamic interchanges within the quadruple stakeholder ecosystem for both open and closed innovation.  The study will therefore build on the PhD work of Dr Miller and the joint published work of both supervisors and international collaborators. The dynamic interaction of UTT QH stakeholders involving value creation, value capture, open and closed innovation suggest a longitudinal development rather than a static position.

Thus, it is suggested that the PhD  student  will draw upon longitudinal case study evidence  involving three differing bounded contexts of universities and their respective UTT QH ecosystems in an exploratory theory building approach to give sufficient theoretical saturation based on the supervisor’s experience of this type of research (multiple REF UTT related publications as per UIR/PURE and 18 successful PhD completions).

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 65%


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £15,009 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 19 February 2018
Interview Date
12 March 2018

Contact Supervisor

Professor Rodney McAdam

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #238393 when applying for this PhD opportunity