Creating Competitiveness
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Creating Competitiveness

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policies for Growth

Edited by David B. Audretsch and Mary Lindenstein Walshok

Although competitiveness is typically associated with firms, they are not the only organizational body whose performance is dependent upon competitiveness. This poignant insightful book focuses on how the varied economic performance of cities and regions, both within nations as well as across nations, during the era of the ‘Great Recession’ also highlights the need for competitiveness.
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Chapter 6: Academic entrepreneurship: lessons learned for university administrators and policymakers

Donald S. Siegel


There has been a substantial rise in the commercialization of publicly funded research at research universities in the US (Siegel et al. 2007) and Europe (Wright et al. 2007). In the academic literature, considerable attention has been devoted to the rise in university technology transfer, via patenting, licensing, research joint ventures and sponsored research, and the formation of startup companies. However, we have also witnessed a dramatic increase in investment in incubators/accelerators, science parks, and other property-based institutions that facilitate the transfer of technology from universities to firms. Examples of key technologies transferred from universities to firms include the famous Boyer–Cohen ‘gene-splicing’ technique that launched the biotechnology industry, diagnostic tests for breast cancer and osteoporosis, Internet search engines (e.g., Google), music synthesizers, computer-aided design (CAD), and green technologies. There has also been a concomitant rise in commercialization efforts at national laboratories (Link et al. 2011) and federal agencies (Siegel and Wessner 2011), which are often tied to research universities. I refer to this wide range of activity as ‘academic entrepreneurship,’ since the goal of these efforts is to commercialize innovations developed by scientists at universities or federal labs.

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