Productivity of Nanobiotechnology Research and Education in U.S. Universities
The National Science Foundation (NSF) estimates that nanotechnology will become a trillion-dollar industry by 2015 and that 800,000 workers will be needed in this field in the United States. Nanobiotechnology ― the interface of nanotechnology and the life sciences ― is one of the most active and promising application frontiers in nanotechnology. To assess the productivity of basic and applied research and education in this field, I construct a structural model composed of a system of three equations which respectively represent the productions of a university’s scientific publications, patents, and graduate training outputs. The model is estimated using a unique data set on thirty universities that participated in nanobiotechnology during the 1990-2005 period. Ten of them are private universities, ten are public land-grant universities, and ten are public non-land-grant universities. Universities indeed serve as a principal seedbed for future development of the cutting-edge nanobiotechnology. NSF investment in nanobiotechnology strongly affects the university’s basic science research and graduate education. The university’s research expenditures in life sciences, engineering, and physical sciences contribute to its nanobiotechnology fields. Importantly, there is no evidence that science and graduate training compete strongly with one another. Rather, basic science research and graduate education serve as strong complements to one another, while basic science and applied research, and applied research and graduate education serve as weak complements. On average, public non-land-grant universities are more efficient in applied research. Such characteristics of universities, however, do not significantly affect the universities’ efficiencies in basic research and graduate education in nanobiotechnology. Presence of a nanotechnology research center on campus enhances the university’s basic science research and a formal nanotechnology education program promotes the university’s graduate education.
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