The Role and Impact of Universities in National Innovation Systems
New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Poh Kam Wong
Chapter 3: Invention Management in Japanese Universities and its Implications for Innovation: Insights from the University of Tokyo
Robert Kneller 3.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter describes the system of technology management in the University of Tokyo and the dominance of sponsored joint (collaborative) research as the main mechanism of technology transfer. As is probably the case in other major national universities in Japan, this system has resulted in large, established companies controlling a large proportion of university discoveries, while opportunities and incentives for start-up formation have been constrained. The University of Tokyo is Japan’s most important university, accounting for approximately 12 percent of all Japanese university research and development (R&D).1 Its faculty and administrators have played important roles in shaping changes in Japan’s system of university-industry collaboration, and it serves as a model for other universities. Nevertheless practices do vary and some of these instances are noted. 3.2 PAST AND PRESENT LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER Prior to 2004, ownership of inventions arising in Japanese national universities, which account for approximately 75 percent of all university research expenditures and include most of Japan’s major academic research centers, depended upon the source of funding that gave rise to the inventions. Inventions arising under government research grants as well as all contractual sponsored research were supposed to be owned by the nation – usually in effect by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, 69 M2781 - WONG TEXT.indd 69 27/10/2011 16:04 70 Academic entrepreneurship in Asia Science and Technology (MEXT, or its predecessor, Monbusho). This was true even in the case of inventions arising under contractual companysponsored research. Government...
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