European Universities in Transition
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European Universities in Transition

Issues, Models and Cases

Edited by Carmelo Mazza, Paolo Quattrone and Angelo Riccaboni

This timely and important book provides a critical analysis of the changes and challenges that currently affect European universities. Using both theoretical contributions and applied case studies, leading experts argue that universities as institutions are in need of change – although the routes that the process may take are heterogeneous.
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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


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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