Abstract

This is an explorative study of academic entrepreneurship with the purpose to investigate the commercialization of knowledge and research among academics. As academics should be at the cutting edge of research and knowledge generation, they should also have the potential to identify opportunities with high growth potential. However, we know little about the extent to which these opportunities are commercialized and what factors are important in their exploitation. Researchers define academic entrepreneurship differently. While some only consider university spin-offs, defined as new companies exploiting intellectual property created in academia, to be academic entrepreneurship (cf. Shane, 2004), others work with a broader definition and include companies started on the side of academic employment, and some also focus on activities such as consulting, commissioned research and teaching, large scale science projects, patenting/licensing, sales, and testing as indicators (cf. Klofsten & Jones-Evans, 2000; Stankiewizc, 1994). We apply a broad perspective and study three commercialization activities: founding a company, receiving a patent/copyright, and taking a product to the market. This broader definition of the concept is in line with Davidsson’s (2004) definition of entrepreneurship as new economic activity.

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