Chapter 2: Backing the horse or the jockey? University knowledge commercialization in the entrepreneurial age
Practical and productive output has been demanded of US higher education since the founding of the first colleges in North America. The meaning of practical and productive has evolved over time and innovative educational, political, and philanthropic leaders have delivered by building higher education institutions and structures connected to local, regional, and national needs (Carlsson et al. 2007). After World War II and especially in recent decades, universities have employed an organization centric model for commercializing knowledge and providing practical value to their constituents. In its wake, a higher education landscape full of technology transfer programs, triple-helixes, science parks, spin-offs, and commercial partnerships has been created. Many research universities perpetually struggle to become innovation and entrepreneurship leaders and while a few vivid outliers seem to have ‘perfected’ innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization, their fortunes are not easily replicated. In an entrepreneurial age, researchers and policy makers must view the campus and its knowledge commercialization from a broader perspective and return to the local roots of America’s great universities (Audretsch 2007).
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