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International Scientist Mobility and the Locus of Technology Transfer

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  • Edler, Jakob
  • Fier, Heide
  • Grimpe, Christoph

Abstract

University technology transfer has attracted considerable attention in the literature with a focus on the institutions, the agents involved in technology commercialisation or the differentiation between formal and informal technology transfer mechanisms. There has, however, been little systematic research on how the mobility of university scientists influences their propensity to engage in technology transfer activities and, particularly, on how mobility influences the locus of such activities. This paper therefore analyses the link between university scientists' technology transfer activities and their international mobility patterns. We characterise scientist mobility along the two dimensions 'frequency' and 'intensity' resulting in an individual mobility pattern. We argue that the mobility pattern as well as the scientist's personal characteristics affects the likelihood whether a transfer of technology occurs to a firm in the scientist's home and/or host country. Based on a sample of more than 500 German university scientists, our results indicate that a substantial share of scientists engages in technology transfer both to the home as well as to the host country. There are, however, considerable differences regarding the factors influencing the locus of technology transfer.

Suggested Citation

  • Edler, Jakob & Fier, Heide & Grimpe, Christoph, 2008. "International Scientist Mobility and the Locus of Technology Transfer," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-082, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:7424
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Albert N. Link & Donald S. Siegel & Barry Bozeman, 2006. "An Empirical Analysis of the Propensity of Academics to Engage in Informal University Technology Transfer," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0610, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
    2. Thorn, Kristian & Holm-Nielsen, Lauritz B., 2006. "International Mobility of Researchers and Scientists: Policy Options for Turning a Drain into a Gain," WIDER Working Paper Series 083, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Bronwyn H. Hall & Albert N. Link & John T. Scott, 2003. "Universities as Research Partners," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 485-491.
    4. Dietz, James S. & Bozeman, Barry, 2005. "Academic careers, patents, and productivity: industry experience as scientific and technical human capital," Research Policy, Elsevier, pages 349-367.
    5. Albert N. Link & Donald S. Siegel & Barry Bozeman, 2007. "An empirical analysis of the propensity of academics to engage in informal university technology transfer ," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 641-655, August.
    6. Toole, Andrew A. & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2007. "Life Scientist Mobility from Academe to Industry: Does Academic Entrepreneurship Induce a Costly ?Brain Drain? on the Not-for-Profit Research Sector?," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-072, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    7. Marie Thursby & Richard Jensen, 2001. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 240-259, March.
    8. Bozeman, Barry, 2000. "Technology transfer and public policy: a review of research and theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, pages 627-655.
    9. Audretsch, David B & Stephan, Paula E, 1996. "Company-Scientist Locational Links: The Case of Biotechnology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 641-652, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haeussler, Carolin & Colyvas, Jeannette A., 2011. "Breaking the Ivory Tower: Academic Entrepreneurship in the Life Sciences in UK and Germany," Research Policy, Elsevier, pages 41-54.
    2. Jenny Meyer, 2011. "Workforce age and technology adoption in small and medium-sized service firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 305-324, October.
    3. Giuseppe Scellato & Chiara Franzoni & Paula Stephan, 2012. "Mobile Scientists and International Networks," NBER Working Papers 18613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    scientist mobility; university technology transfer; internationalisation;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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