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Understanding how academic knowledge is transferred to market, and being able to quantify its impact, is critical for researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and ultimately for public policy. The goal of the TASTE project – TAking STock: Eternal engagement by academics ( – is to unveil how knowledge-transfer-activities unfold and to quantify their impact on individuals, firms and ultimately public wealth.

The research is hosted at the Department of Management of the University of Bologna (UNIBO) and is managed by Prof. Riccardo Fini, under the scientific mentorship of Prof. Maurizio Sobrero. The team includes researchers from UNIBO, as well as from some other world-class institutions, such as: Imperial College London (UK), Nord University (NO), University of Alberta (CA), University of Connecticut (USA), University of Illinois Chicago (USA) and Syracuse University (USA).

The research project has originated the TASTE database, which includes time-variant information on the population of 55,000 academics, employed by the 2,400 departments of the 95 Italian universities, between 2000 and 2014. The database also stores multilevel, longitudinal information on their 1,100 academic spinouts and 5,500 shareholders/directors, as well as their patenting activities. This data is complemented with information on the characteristics and entrepreneurial support mechanisms of the 20 Italian regions. The TASTE database represents one of the few existing efforts, aimed at systematically assess the impact of university research in a country, adopting a multi-level, longitudinal, population-based approach. For descriptive statistics and data overview, please refer to the technical report “Fifteen Years of Academic Entrepreneurship in Italy: Evidence from the Taste Project”, available at

The results of the TASTE project have implication for both management theory and public policy. For instance, they contribute to shed lights on how scientists, by signaling their engagement in knowledge-transfer activities, might increase the likelihood of being promoted. The results also show how the evolution of entrepreneurial team diversity influences the performance of spin-off firms. Finally, they also highlight how the exposure to different institutional logics affects scientists’ engagement in knowledge-transfer activities.

As of May 2016, the publications originated by the TASTE project have appeared in Research Policy, International Small Business Journal, Industry and Innovation, Research Evaluation and the Journal of Industrial and Business Economics. The TASTE project’s results have also being used as a common-ground for three journals’ special issues, to be published in Academy of Management Perspectives (2017), Journal of Management Studies (2018) and R&D Management Journal (2018). Finally, the results have originated a book, entitled “Process approach to academic entrepreneurship: evidence from the globe”, published by World Scientific Publishing.

The results of TASTE project have been disseminated in both scientific endeavours and policy-making arenas. Throughout the project duration, the fellow and his co-authors have presented their work at more than forty international conferences, such as the Academy of Management Conference, DRUID Society Conference, Egos Conference and Strategic Management Society Conference. The fellow has been invited to present the research outcomes at twelve world-class institutions in Asia, Australia, EU and USA. The fellow has also given four research keynote speeches in Brisbane, Porto and Singapore, as well as seventeen talks in policy-making arenas.

The fellow is now Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management at UNIBO and, since 2015, is serving as the Associate Dean for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Business School of UNIBO, where he also directs the Master in Entrepreneurship and the Global MBA (concentration in Innovation Management). The fellow holds a visiting fellowship at Imperial College London and is extensively consulting for ANVUR, the national agency for the evaluation of the university and research systems of the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR).