Academic Entrepreneurship in Europe

Academic Entrepreneurship in Europe

Mike Wright, Bart Clarysse, Philippe Mustar and Andy Lockett

This book advances our understanding of university spin-off creation and development in environments outside the high-tech clusters of the US. While there has been substantial university spin-off activity internationally in recent years, a number of major aspects are little understood. The authors argue that the nature of universities is changing as reduced public funding reflects a public debate on their role in society. An important aspect of this international phenomenon is an increased emphasis on the commercialization of university research and on academic entrepreneurship. These new ventures therefore involve the spinning-off of technology and knowledge generated by universities.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Mike Wright, Bart Clarysse, Philippe Mustar and Andy Lockett

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship

Extract

INTRODUCTION The nature of universities in Europe has changed dramatically since the mid1990s. A number of events have precipitated this change. First, following the drop of federal funding for research at universities in the US, the public research funding of research at universities in Europe has also decreased (Etzkowitz, 1983). Second, a public debate has emerged about the role which universities have to play in society. Third, many countries in Europe have adopted a Bayh–Dole type of Act on university patenting activity. These environmental changes are believed to increase the pressure and incentives to commercialize university research (Bank of England, 1996; Confederation of British Industry, 1997; Siegel, et al., 2003). Traditional emphasis has been upon the licensing of innovations (for example, Thursby and Thursby, 2002) but greater attention is now being addressed internationally to the creation of new ventures that involve the spinning-off of technology and knowledge generated by universities (Table 1.1). According to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), US universities spun out 4543 start-ups between 1980 and 2003 (AUTM, 2005). In the 1980s, US universities created fewer than 100 startups per year. In 2004 they created 462 start-ups, taking equity in 240 of them. For many analysts, this growth is explained by the passage of the Bayh–Dole Patent and Trademark Amendments Act of 1980 which permitted performers of federally funded research to file for patents on the results of this research and to grant licences for these patents, including exclusive licences, to firms. Although there...