Chapter 8: Empirical analysis of university patenting in Korea
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Over the course of Korea’s industrialization, the primary role of universities has been supplying quality workers. The research university model, which had been already established in advanced countries, has begun operation only recently in Korea. The research university model was set in motion in 1971 with the foundation of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIS), which became today’s Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Since then, new research-oriented universities have been founded, including Pohang University of Science and Technology in 1986 and Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in 1995. Other universities have made continuous efforts to systematize research activities within their institutions (Hee Je Pak, 2006). Recently, universities have assumed increased duties by participating directly in economic activities, such as strengthening industry-academia-institute collaboration, improving university technology transfer, and establishing university-run enterprises. Although academic capitalism – under which universities perform entrepreneurial activities such as generating revenue through technology transfer and operating business enterprises – carries little weight as yet in Korean universities, the government has been treating it as an important policy issue. One particular issue of debate in Korea is the increasing use of patents in evaluating universities and professors. Traditionally Korean universities have placed greater importance on papers than on patents. With a growing emphasis on industry-academia cooperation and the direct contribution of universities to economic growth, patents became quite suddenly a key policy tool.

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