Global-Spin News

University resources influence the creation of academic spin-offs

University resources influence the creation of academic spin-offs
Tuesday, 30 May 2017

If we think about the transmission of the knowledge obtained by university researchers, we can identify three main tendencies: diffusion via conferences and publications, insertion of skilled labourers into the work force, and the commercialization of knowledge [1]. Within the final option, the creation of academic spin-offs is a highly visible form of selling university knowledge. This commercialization shows how important the competitive advantage of academic research can have in the marketplace [1].

In a study published in Canada, the analysis of 1554 university researchers help us understand why some types of researchers are more likely to commercialize their results than others. In this study, different to other studies, the resources available to the researcher are considered of the upmost importance when it comes to starting a spin-off [1].

Within the resources that are considered as important, the study analyses financial assets, intellectual property assets, knowledge assets (which includes publication assets, research fields, novelty of research, etc.), social capital assets, and organizational assets (including the university research size, laboratory size, teaching, and personal assets) [1]. The results of the study show that there is a relationship between some resources and the creation of academic spin offs.

For example, as laboratory size increases, so does the likelihood of spin-off creation. However, other factors also influence in this equation such as gender (men are more likely to start spin-offs than women) and their field of study (for example, those in chemistry are more likely than those in engineering to start spin-offs).  In addition, some factors do not seem to influence in academic spin-offs, such as the number of teaching hours and number of publications [1].

These results show us, that while the researcher him or herself is important in the spin-off process, the resources available to them also have a large impact.