Regional economic development results from expert knowledge, highly educated people, and scientific discoveries, (Saxenian, 1994; Klofsten & Jones-Evans, 2000; Florida, 2002; Bok, 2003; Etzkowitz, 2003; Venkataraman, 2003). The importance of higher education institutions as sources of many of these key ingredients has led to studies of academic entrepreneurship from multiple perspectives (Owen-Smith, 2000; Powers, 2000; Siegel et al., 2003; Shane, 2004), yet relatively few studies of academic entrepreneurship or technology transfer consider the individual level of analysis (Rothaermel et al., 2007; Djokovic & Souitaris, 2008).

Building on the entrepreneurial cognition literature, we examine why some faculty researchers, and not others, exploit opportunities related to their scholarship. We evaluate the relative importance of different aspects of universities’ commercialization infrastructure, as well as academic scholars’ perceptions of institutional and school-level policies on their intentions and decisions to exploit potential commercial opportunities related to their scholarship. At a time when an increasing number of universities want to stimulate entrepreneurial activity among faculty, this examination of the impact of real and perceived environmental context on academic entrepreneurs’ commercialization intentions and actions is timely.