Academic spin-offs have received increasing attention in discussions about science and innovation policy and in research. Most of the attention has been focused on determining the conditions for fostering spin-offs, but this paper shifts the focus back to the potential repercussions for academic institutions. These may result from the involvement of researchers in spin-off processes and from incentives aimed at supporting spin-off activities. In a first step, the paper develops a conceptual framework with which to analyse repercussions that result from the interaction between policy measures for supporting spin-offs and structural features of national science systems. Policy measures and structural aspects of the science systems influence the ways spin-offs and their parent institutions interact. As patterns of linkages differ, so too may their impacts on academic institutions. Secondly, based on secondary analysis of comparative studies, we develop a number of hypotheses as to which repercussions on academic institutions may be expected in a number of European countries. The paper concludes by proposing implications for policy as well as for further research.