University–industry linkages (UILs) offer an array of benefits for the parties involved and the economy at large; however, research provides limited theoretical development and practical advice on successfully managing UILs from initial negotiations to project completion and beyond. This paper, thus, empirically investigates the impact of relational success factors (communication, trust, understanding, individuals) on UIL performance across three phases of evolution, accounting for the changing manifestations of these factors over time. Communication emerged as a consistent predictor of success, with positive interrelationships between individuals advancing all relational success factors across all phases. A positive effect of trust and understanding, however, only emerged for some relationship phases. Results provide managers with insight into forms relational drivers take throughout long-lasting successful UILs.