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Exploring the relationship between scientist human capital and firm performance: The case of biomedical academic entrepreneurs in the SBIR program

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  • Czarnitzki, Dirk
  • Toole, Andrew A.

Abstract

Do academic scientists bring valuable human capital to the companies they found or join? If so, what are the particular skills that compose their human capital and how are these skills related to firm performance? This paper examines these questions using a particular group of academic entrepreneurs – biomedical research scientists who choose to commercialize their knowledge through the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research Program. Our conceptual framework assumes the nature of an academic entrepreneurs? prior research reflects the development of their human capital. We highlight differences in firm performance that correlate with differences in the scientists? research orientations developed during their academic careers. We find that biomedical academic entrepreneurs with human capital oriented toward exploring scientific opportunities significantly improve their firms? performance of research tasks such as ?proof of concept? studies. Biomedical academic entrepreneurs with human capital oriented toward exploring commercial opportunities significantly improve their firms? performance of invention oriented tasks such as patenting. Consistent with prior evidence, there also appears to be a form of diminishing returns to scientifically oriented human capital in a commercialization environment. Holding the commercial orientation of the scientists? human capital constant, we find that increasing their human capital for identifying and exploring scientific opportunities significantly detracts from their firms? patenting performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Czarnitzki, Dirk & Toole, Andrew A., 2007. "Exploring the relationship between scientist human capital and firm performance: The case of biomedical academic entrepreneurs in the SBIR program," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-011, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5498
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:kap:jtecht:v:43:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10961-018-9657-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rivera, Rene & Sampedro, Jose Luis & Dutrenit, Gabriela & Ekboir, Javier Mario & Vera-Cruz, Alexandre O., 2009. "How productive are academic researchers in agriculture-related sciences? The Mexican case," MERIT Working Papers 038, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Rivera-Huerta, René & Dutrénit, Gabriela & Ekboir, Javier Mario & Sampedro, José Luis & Vera-Cruz, Alexandre O., 2011. "Do linkages between farmers and academic researchers influence researcher productivity? The Mexican case," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 932-942, September.
    4. Dirk Czarnitzki & Christian Rammer & Andrew Toole, 2014. "University spin-offs and the “performance premium”," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 309-326, August.
    5. Dirk Czarnitzki & Katrin Hussinger & Cédric Schneider, 2011. "Commercializing academic research: the quality of faculty patenting," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(5), pages 1403-1437, October.
    6. Stefan Krabel & Donald Siegel & Viktor Slavtchev, 2012. "The internationalization of science and its influence on academic entrepreneurship," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 192-212, April.
    7. Henry Sauermann, 2017. "Fire in the Belly? Employee Motives and Innovative Performance in Startups versus Established Firms," NBER Working Papers 23099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dirk Czarnitzki & Andrew Toole, 2010. "Is there a trade-off between academic research and faculty entrepreneurship? Evidence from US NIH supported biomedical researchers," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 505-520.
    9. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9476-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mahoney, Joseph T., 2012. "Towards a Stakeholder Theory of Strategic Management," Working Papers 12-0100, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    11. Andrew A. Toole & Dirk Czarnitzki, 2010. "Commercializing Science: Is There a University "Brain Drain" from Academic Entrepreneurship?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(9), pages 1599-1614, September.
    12. Herrera, Liliana & Nieto, Mariano, 2016. "PhD careers in Spanish industry: Job determinants in manufacturing versus non-manufacturing firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 341-351.
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    14. repec:wsi:ijimxx:v:14:y:2010:i:02:n:s1363919610002635 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Dirk Czarnitzki & Katrin Hussinger & Cédric Schneider, 2012. "The nexus between science and industry: evidence from faculty inventions," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(5), pages 755-776, October.
    16. Benjamin A. Campbell, 2013. "Earnings Effects of Entrepreneurial Experience: Evidence from the Semiconductor Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(2), pages 286-304, February.
    17. repec:bla:stratm:v:38:y:2017:i:7:p:1373-1390 is not listed on IDEAS
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    19. Michael P. Ciuchta & Yan Gong & Anne S. Miner & Chaim Letwin & Anthony Sadler, 2016. "Imprinting and the progeny of university spin-offs," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 1113-1134, October.
    20. repec:eee:tefoso:v:123:y:2017:i:c:p:216-228 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Barge-Gil, Andres & D'Este, Pablo & Herrera, Liliana, 2018. "Corporate scientists as the triggers of transitions towards firms' exploration research strategies," MPRA Paper 85415, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Jose Maria Millan & Emilio Congregado & Concepcion Roman & Mirjam van Praag & Andre van Stel, 2011. "The Value of an Educated Population for an Individual's Entrepreneurship Success," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-066/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 06 May 2014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Academic Entrepreneurship; SBIR Program; Human Capital; Biotechnology;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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