Entrepreneurial University Behaviour as a Pathway to Viable STEM Research Facilities

  • Rachel Foster-Borman

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


Higher education institutions in the UK and elsewhere have developed high-cost STEM facilities with the aim of making ground-breaking discoveries. However, the financial cost of STEM in higher education has recently come under greater scrutiny at the institutional and faculty levels. Questions relating to financial viability plague facilities from as early as prior to opening, and throughout their operational life. Alternative (industry-sourced) income streams are typically desired to address the operational deficit.

This DBA research explores the ‘black box’ of HEI STEM facility viability, and the external barriers to viability under the view of the triple helix model and entrepreneurial university perspectives. Through 28 interviews with participants from current STEM facilities across the UK, analysis of 26 documents, and the use of Soft Systems Methods, this study illustrates the messy issues that fly unaddressed under the radar to undermine facility sustainability. By exploring the structural issues compromising STEM viability, my research contributes to both professional practice, and expands the literature relating to viability governance within entrepreneurial universities and the triple helix. The resulting conceptual models delineates strata of viability spanning: strategy & leadership, financial performance, management information systems, and regulatory aspects. These layers are set against a problematic external environment of severe financial shocks. The conceptual models provide clear insight into the issues faced by universities and provide pathways to increase their viability and reduce the financial burdens of STEM research.
Date of Award28 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorHong Bui (Supervisor) & Ammon Salter (Supervisor)


  • STEM Management, Facility Viability, Research Incomes, Strategy and Leadership, Knowledge Production, Triple Helix, Quadruple Helix

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