Purpose Universities concerned with third mission activities are engines that increase regional competitiveness since their primary role in the knowledge-based economy is to stimulate innovation by transferring new knowledge and technologies to industry and society. Due to the correlation between efficient university technology transfer and intellectual capital (IC), this study will show how IC can be mobilised by university technology transfer offices (TTOs), so contributing to the third stage of IC research. Design The application of the Maturity Model developed by Secundo et al., (2016) is expanded by collecting data from 18 universities in the European countries to illustrate how IC can be used as a strategy and solution to the barriers faced by TTOs. Findings TTOs with increased access to and utilization of IC tend to have higher maturity levels. This new application of the Maturity Model, proves that IC can be utilized to manage and improve the efficiency of TTOs. Research implication An indication of the level of access that TTOs have to university IC is given leading to recommendations to improve university technology transfer. Practical implications Knowing which IC components are essential to the efficiency of TTOs, and which IC needs greater utilization, will provide insights into policy and practical interventions to improve their efficiency, resulting in increasing universities’ competitiveness. Originality A new approach and perspective on utilizing IC to improve university technology transfer so contributing to the third stage of IC research calling for more practice-oriented research. Research limitations Future research should include a wider sample of universities to increase the validation of the Maturity Model and to prove it as a suitable and strategic approach for IC management at TTOs.
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