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Is the commercialization of European academic R&D weak?—A critical assessment of a dominant belief and associated policy responses

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  • Jacobsson, Staffan
  • Lindholm-Dahlstrand, Åsa
  • Elg, Lennart

Abstract

There is a widespread belief that EU underperforms in the commercialization of publicly funded research and that the appropriate policy response is to transfer the ownership of intellectual property rights to Universities. This paper assesses the validity of these twin beliefs. In addressing the first, we limit ourselves to Sweden which still retains its “Teacher's Exemption” model. In spite of confident statements made in the literature and by Government, we provide evidence to the contrary, i.e. that Swedish academia performs well in terms of commercialization. We also have doubts about the usefulness of the medicine prescribed to cure the alleged problem. Largely drawing on US literature, we argue that the medicine risks harming strong university–industry networks, biasing technical change, reducing entrepreneurial activity and generating costs to Universities which may be detrimental to technology transfer. In conclusion, we seriously question the validity of both beliefs.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacobsson, Staffan & Lindholm-Dahlstrand, Åsa & Elg, Lennart, 2013. "Is the commercialization of European academic R&D weak?—A critical assessment of a dominant belief and associated policy responses," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 874-885.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:4:p:874-885
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2013.01.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Bianchini & Patrick Llerena, 2016. "Science policy as a prerequisite of industrial policy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(3), pages 273-280, September.
    2. Fabrizio Cesaroni & Andrea Piccaluga, 2016. "The activities of university knowledge transfer offices: towards the third mission in Italy," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 753-777, August.
    3. Kenney, Martin, 2013. "Commercialization or Engagement: Which Is of More Significance to the U.S. Economy ?," ETLA Working Papers 13, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    4. Merle Jacob & Asa Lindholm Dahlstrand & Sprutacz Maren, 2016. "RIO Country Report 2015: Sweden," JRC Working Papers JRC101217, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    5. Federico Munari & Einar Rasmussen & Laura Toschi & Elisa Villani, 2016. "Determinants of the university technology transfer policy-mix: a cross-national analysis of gap-funding instruments," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(6), pages 1377-1405, December.
    6. repec:oup:scippl:v:45:y:2018:i:2:p:159-174. is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Martin Jaekel & Arto Wallin & Minna Isomursu, 2015. "Guiding Networked Innovation Projects Towards Commercial Success—a Case Study of an EU Innovation Programme with Implications for Targeted Open Innovation," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 6(3), pages 625-639, September.
    8. Ani Gerbin & Mateja Drnovsek, 2016. "Determinants and public policy implications of academic-industry knowledge transfer in life sciences: a review and a conceptual framework," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 979-1076, October.
    9. Jonas Sonnenschein, 2016. "Understanding indicator choice for the assessment of research, development, and demonstration financing of low-carbon energy technologies: Lessons from the Nordic countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 048, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. repec:oup:scippl:v:44:y:2017:i:4:p:565-577. is not listed on IDEAS

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