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Technology Commercialization as University Mission: Early Historical Developments at the University of Toronto


Canadian universities are perceived as less vibrant and engaged generators of technologies with commercial value than their American counterparts, and such perceptions have driven science policy for decades. This paper shows that contrary to these prevailing views, Canada’s largest university has a long history of experience in dealing with the technological gaps in national industry and in attempting to work with domestic firms. Three historical periods, particularly critical in shaping these interactions, are identified and discussed. By the time policy initiatives began emphasizing university-industry relationships, the university had already built essential organizational underpinnings for the commercialization of technologies.