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Title

Upstream and downstream knowledge-based antecedents of academic entrepreneurship and technology transfer

AuthorsD'Este Cukierman, Pablo ; Ramos-Vielba, Irene; Sánchez Barrioluengo, Mabel ; Yegros Yegros, Alfredo
Issue Date2016
CitationUniversity-Industry Interaction (2016)
Abstract[Introduction and Aim]: Academic researchers actively contribute to new technological developments and economic growth through inventions and advanced technologies (Shane, 2004; Clarysse et al, 2011). These contributions have often led to the formation of academic spin-offs and to the licensing of intellectual property rights (IPRs). Research on academic entrepreneurship has investigated the antecedents of these different types of contributions. Some studies have mainly focused on individual skills and motivations as shaping entrepreneurial attitudes among academics; while others have dominantly focused on institutional-level factors as influencing entrepreneurial behavior (Fini et al., 2012; Souitaris et al., 2007; Rasmussen et al., 2013). In this research we contribute to this open debate by investigating two contrasting antecedents of academic spin-off creation and licensing of IPRs: research breakthroughs (upstream antecedents) or interaction with users (downstream antecedents). More specifically, we investigate whether spin-off ventures and licensing of IPRs are driven by scientific discoveries or by the extent to which scientists have engaged in two of the most frequent formal mechanisms of knowledge transfer with non-academic actors (i.e. R&D contracts and consulting). We also examine the extent to which the organizational climate toward commercialization and technology transfer in which scientists are embedded significantly affects the probability of engagement in these two commercialization activities, and whether it moderates the relationship between upstream/downstream antecedents and the commercialization and entrepreneurial behavior of scientists. [Research Methodology]: This research combines data from a large scale survey of scientists from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), with data from administrative sources (i.e. past engagement in knowledge transfer activities) and bibliometric sources (i.e. publications and citations). More specifically, we draw upon information from 1295 respondents to a survey conducted on a population of 3,199 researchers (40% response rate). Responses to the survey allowed us to identify the different entrepreneurial activities in which scientists were involved over the period 2009-2011, paying particular attention to whether they have been engaged in spin-off formation and licensing of IPRs. These constitute the dependent variables for this study. Our key independent variables reflect: a) the extent to which scientists have been able to contribute with breakthrough ideas (i.e. number of articles included in the 5% top cited papers in their respective fields) over a period of 10 years prior to the survey (upstream antecedents); b) the extent to which scientists have engaged in R&D contracts and consulting activities over a period of 10 years prior to the survey (downstream antecedents); and c) the scientists’ assessment about how their research organizations rank in terms of providing a supportive environment for commercialization and technology transfer activities (organizational climate). We conduct bi-variate probit analysis and multinomial analysis to test our propositions.
[Preliminary Results and Conclusions]: The preliminary analyses conducted provide empirical support for the following findings. First, past engagement in “R&D contracts and consulting” is a strong predictor of both spin-off creation and IPR licensing. Second, breakthrough scientific contributions are found to be strong antecedents of academic spin-off ventures but not of IPR licensing. Finally, the organizational climate exerts a positive and significant impact on IPR licensing, but our findings do not support the claim that organizational climate exerts a significant moderation effect on the relationship between upstream/downstream antecedents and spin-off creation and licensing. In sum, while we find that academics who contribute outstandingly to scientific advance are particularly likely to engage in spin-off creation, formal research contracts with users have a disproportionally larger impact on both: spin-off ventures and IPR licensing. These results suggest that recurrent involvement in contract research and consulting contribute to building “opportunity recognition” (Clarysse et al., 2011) and “exploratory technology development” (Connell et al., 2015) capacities. Building these two types of capabilities, through R&D contracts and consulting, allows academic scientists to gain both technological expertise and credibility among potential beneficiaries of their research.
DescriptionResumen del trabajo presentado a la University-Industry Interaction International Conference, celebrada en Amsterdam (Netherlands) del 1 al 3 de junio de 2016.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/162543
Appears in Collections:(INGENIO) Comunicaciones congresos
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