Rethinking the Rationales for Funding and Governance
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller
PAULA E. STEPHAN Both the Llerena, Matt and Schaeﬀer chapter (Chapter 5) and the Riccaboni, Powell, Pammolli and Owen-Smith chapter (Chapter 6) relate to the issue of why technology transfer from the public sector (PRO) appears to have been more successful in the United States than in Europe. Here I comment very brieﬂy on each chapter and then make more general comments relating to why the US system, particularly in the biomedical sciences, has been so eﬀective in fostering technology transfer between PROs, especially universities, and biotech start-ups. Chapter 5 discusses the impact of French innovation policies on universities. From a US perspective, a system whereby researchers are allowed to hold an equity position in a ﬁrm while being at a PRO should encourage start-ups. So, too, should a policy that permits researchers to leave the academic laboratory for a period of up to six years and then return. Perhaps most important, is a policy that allows researchers to stay in the laboratory and still bring their scientiﬁc talents to a ﬁrm. These attributes are supported by the US experience in technology transfer in biotechnology, which is characterized by a number of factors. First is the ability of universitybased founders of biotech companies to have their cake and eat it too, maintaining their job in the university while founding the company. Audretsch and Stephan (1999) ﬁnd, for example, that 35 out of the 50 university founders of the publicly traded biotech ﬁrms in their sample still...
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