University trustees as channels between academe and industry: Toward an understanding of the executive science network
Policy makers in the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) see “autonomous” research universities as increasingly central to “world class” status, technology development and economic innovation. Trustees or regents (US) and external board members (EU) are seen as a marker of university autonomy. Examining university trustees may shed some light on the role of trustees/external board members play in research strategy, innovation and economic development. Given that a number of trustees of US research universities sit on the boards of directors of large corporations with research interests, we hypothesized that trustees may be an important channel connecting universities to innovation and economic development. To date, university trustees have not been studied as a channel between academe and industry that enables scientific discovery, technology development and economic innovation.
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