The purpose of this paper and the special issue is to improve our understanding of the theoretical, empirical, managerial and political implications of emerging models of entrepreneurial universities in the new social and economic landscape. We accomplish this objective by examining the role of entrepreneurial universities as drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship activities. Our analysis starts with an overview by outlining an overarching framework. This allows us to highlight the contributions made in this special issue within the framework. We conclude by outlining an agenda for future research and discuss implications for university managers, policy makers and other academic agents involved in the development of entrepreneurial/innovation ecosystems.