University Technology Transfer in Transition
Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Chapter 1: Universities, Technology Commercialization and Innovation Systems
[T]he balance between knowledge and resources has shifted so far toward the former that knowledge has become perhaps the most important factor determining the standard of living – more than land, than tools, than labor. – Paul S. Romer1 In today’s knowledge-based world, the creation and commercialization of new technologies are the driving force behind sustainable economic growth and social prosperity. New technologies create new products, new markets, new processes for doing business, and even new industries, while improving the economy’s overall efficiency and competitiveness. Reduced to its simplest concept, economic activity involves taking physical resources and rearranging them into things (products or services) that are more valuable than before. Because physical resources are scarce, economic growth requires more than just rearranging more physical resources, but eventually requires rearranging the physical resources better.2 That is where innovation and technological advances come into play. Because knowledge can be shared and infinitely reused at little to no cost, technological advances are generally much more valuable than the underlying physical resources that they seek to transform.3 As a result, those countries with the strongest innovation capabilities also tend to have the strongest and most advanced economies. Universities are one of the most important elements in shaping a country’s innovation capabilities. At the most basic level, universities help to develop the most technologically advanced portion of a country’s workforce. A country cannot develop a consistently successful, technologybased economy without a critical mass of highly-skilled workers that are trained to operate in science and technology fields....
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