Industrial strategies designed to promote innovation in a set of priority technologies through university–industry collaboration essentially institutionalize a triple helix approach to economic development. Yet, treating universities as a generic resource leaves a question mark as to which institutions are most likely to be most useful. In addition, prior evidence of uneven regional distribution of research income in these technologies suggests that place-based interventions may merely lock in pre-existing inequalities. Therefore, by controlling for spatial and temporal variations among UK universities, this paper examines whether their ability to generate knowledge in these priority technologies is dependent upon their entrepreneurial or engaged nature, and strategic orientation. Using data from the UK Higher Education Business & Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey, the analysis finds that entrepreneurial activities such as higher levels of licensing income, start-ups and patents are associated with higher levels of research income in these priority technologies. Furthermore, higher levels of income from engagement with businesses through collaboration and contract research are also associated with higher research income in these priority technologies, while strategic orientation has no effect.