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The role of universities has been highlighted in the social and economic development of communities with the addition of entrepreneurial mission to the educational and research missions of the universities. Thus, the subjects related to the academic entrepreneurship and commercialization of knowledge has recently been taken into consideration by many researchers and politicians in various countries. In Iran, concept of academic entrepreneurship is newly established and is in its initial stages of formation and institutionalization. Considering this gap in the literature, identifying institutional factors which affect academic entrepreneurship in Iran is the main objective of this study. For this purpose, the Institutional Economy theory of North (1990) was used to investigate the formal and informal institutional factors that foster academic entrepreneurship in Iran. In this study a mixed approach was implemented, taking advantage of interviews and a questionnaire to collection the data from the experts involved in academic entrepreneurship activities in University of Tehran. For sampling purposes, the objective judgmental method was used as a non-probability sampling approach. Data collection and analysis continued until theoretical saturation was reached. Then, 41 semi-structured and open interviews were conducted. The quantitative sample size was calculated based on the Cochran’s Formula (60 persons). Findings revealed that main formal institutional factors that affect academic entrepreneurship in Iran include as follows: (i) rules, structure and governance of the university, (ii) entrepreneurship and business training programs, (iii) university-industry relationship, (iv) governmental policies and regulations, (v) intellectual property laws, and (vi) educational and research structure of the university while principle informal institutional factors include: (i) method of enforcing rules, (ii) political considerations, (ii) role models and academic reward system, and (iii) academicians' attitudes toward entrepreneurship.
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