Frank Rothaermel, associate professor of strategic management
As public interest in entrepreneurship increases, with six out of 10 adults now saying they would like to start a business, so does academic interest in the field. According to a new report by researchers at the College of Management, the pace of academic research on entrepreneurship has increased in recent years.
Conducted for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation by associate strategic management professor Frank Rothaermel and doctoral students Shanti D. Agung and Lin Jiang, the report surveys and synthesizes the entire field of university entrepreneurship research over the past 25 years by analyzing all the academic journal articles published during the time period. The report also derives an integrative framework to guide future research.
"We purposefully define university entrepreneurship broadly, in order to include any published research pertaining to entrepreneurial activities in which a university could be involved," write the researchers, "including, but not limited to: patenting, licensing, creating new firms, facilitating technology transfer through incubators and science parks, and facilitating regional economic development."
Lesa Mitchell, vice president, Advancing Innovation at the Kauffman Foundation, says: "It
is rewarding to finally have a summary of knowledge on the topic of university entrepreneurship. The Kauffman Foundation has been funding research in this field for three years, and having this report will help guide us in future research directions … as well as others researching this area. No one has accumulated this before, so it is filling an important knowledge gap."
The report reveals that 173 articles have been published in 28 academic journals by 232 scholars over the 25-year period 1981-2005. However, the report shows that 127 of these articles were published in the six-year period 2000-2005, and a 69 percent of these articles are authored by just 65 of these scholars.
This increase in research – both domestically and abroad – largely corresponds to the growth of entrepreneurship education in universities around the world and, in particular, passage of the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, which provided universities with incentives to patent scientific breakthroughs accomplished with federal funding. Additional factors include the rise in the pool and mobility of scientists and engineers, and important technological breakthroughs in computing, biotechnology, and, more recently, nanotechnology.
Since the early 1980s, U.S. universities have greatly increased their entrepreneurial activities. Four major research streams emerge in this area of study: 1) entrepreneurial research university, 2) productivity of technology transfer offices, 3) new firm creation, and 4) environmental context including networks of innovation.
Because literature on university entrepreneurship has grown in such a short time period, researchers had not reviewed its content in a systematic and comprehensive fashion until this report.
To view the full report, visit the Kauffman Foundation Website.
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