Issues, Models and Cases
Edited by Carmelo Mazza, Paolo Quattrone and Angelo Riccaboni
Chapter 7: Combining the Production and the Valorization of Academic Research: A Qualitative Investigation of Enacted Mechanisms
Julie Callaert, Bart Van Looy, Dominique Foray and Koenraad Debackere INTRODUCTION: ACADEMIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP The emergence of knowledge-based societies over the past decades has spurred research on the speciﬁc role of universities in innovation systems. The notion of academic entrepreneurship has gained acceptance among communities of researchers, practitioners and policy makers (Etzkowitz et al., 1998). At the same time, this acceptance seems impregnated by a constant alertness for tensions that may arise. Research has been conducted at several levels, resulting in a vast literature on the topic of academic entrepreneurship. A rough distinction can be made between critics and proponents. Critics have raised concerns about the possibly detrimental impact of combining academic research and business-related activities or have formulated boundaries to possible synergies between both activity realms (Lee, 1996). Some fear for inopportune modiﬁcations of public research agendas (Geuna, 1999; Hane, 1999; Vavakova, 1998), while the ‘corporate manipulation thesis’ (Noble, 1977) warns against corporations that seek to control or even manipulate university research in order to make it useful to their own agendas. The alleged ‘skewing problem’ (Florida and Cohen, 1999) indicates the risk of more applied research being executed at the cost of basic research endeavors. The conﬂicting nature of the normative principles that guide Academia and business is at the base of many concerns: competitive considerations and secrecy practices are perceived to stand in direct opposition to the principle of free dissemination of scientiﬁc knowledge (Cohen and Noll, 1994; Blumenthal et al., 1996). Some empirical...
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