This special issue presents an opportunity to explore the international aspects of academic and university based international entrepreneurship. Over the last decades much research attention has been focused on university spin-off firms (USOs) on issues such as creation, risk, strategies and performance. There has been a dearth of studies that have examined the international dimensions and aspects of university-based spin-off firms. The six articles presented in this special issue point towards interesting future research agendas at the interface between academic and international entrepreneurship. Three core themes emerge from this special issue: Context, Emergence and Actors. In sum, this special issue pinpoints: firstly, specific features of universities and research organizations as contexts for international technology entrepreneurship; secondly, the process of organizational emergence and entrepreneurial cognition; and thirdly, insight into learning processes of USOs and the role of non-academic actors. Our article concludes by identifying future avenues of research.