The Entrepreneurial University – Pt3

/ June 21st, 2011/ Posted in University management / No Comments »

innovative spin-off companyIn this post on the Entrepreneurial University, I look at questions of implementation.
Role models
The Entrepreneurial university involves faculty as well as the creation of external firms. For both types of activity, entrepreneurial role models are important to inspire the commercialization of research. “The research indicates that a bottom-up approach is more conducive to fostering academic entrepreneurship…”.  “…university management need to be cognisant of the underlying culture within their institution before engaging in interventionist policies.” (Philpott et al. 2011: 169).

Intermediaries and boundary spanners
Individuals acting as intermediaries are required to connect the worlds of research and business, and thus integrate planning, finance and marketing skills with those of scholarly research. Grad students or post-doc fellows are suggested.

Spin-off policies are not all equal: “Most attention has been focused on spinout creation and not on increasing the probability that these firms are sustainable in the long run”; while different spin-off business models across disciplines require “a differentiated approach to their creation and development” (Siegel et al. 2007). There are also differences by discipline among faculty. Funding gaps, the judicious assignment of intellectual property and the requisite skills in technology transfer facilities must all be considered.

Orientation of the entrepreneurial university
Is the entrepreneurial program oriented towards creating new revenue streams for the university, or rather is part of a general plan for local or regional economic development (Siegel et al. 2007)? Geographic situation influences the orientation of policy: “A major tension for mid-range, as opposed to top universities, arises from pressures to develop internationally recognized areas of research excellence… and at the same time to transfer knowledge to the local economy.” (Siegel et al. 2007: 498).

In the next post (the last of 4), I review some critique of the entrepreneurial role for the university.

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