Breaking the Ivory Tower: Academic Entrepreneurship in the Life Sciences in UK and Germany
We examine engagement in commercial activities (consulting, patenting, and founding) among more than 2200 German and UK life scientists. We test hypotheses that include attributes of individuals, their material and social resources, and perceptions about values and reputation. We find that characteristics reflecting professional security, advantage and productivity are strong predictors for a greater breadth of participation in academic entrepreneurship, but not for all forms of technology transfer that we are able to test. For such academics, science and commerce go hand in hand, as they are best poised to straddle the boundary between industry and academy. We find strong support, however, that scientists perceive the value of patenting differently, and the level of reputational importance placed on scientific compared to commercial achievements matters in shaping commercial involvement.
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