Creating a university technology commercialisation programme: confronting conflicts between learning, discovery and commercialisation goals
Meyer, Alan D.
Krause, Alan J.
Metzger, Matthew L.
Holloway, Samuel S.
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Our knowledge-based society is pressing universities to transform from monastic scholarly enclaves into producers of new technologies and incubators of start-up firms. However, converting scientists’ curiosity-driven discoveries into commercially viable innovations has proven so difficult that observers liken the journey to crossing a ‘Valley of Death’. We conceptualise the challenges of commercialising university inventions in terms of three gaps: the technology discovery gap, the commercialisation gap, and the venture launch gap. We chronicle the inception and evolution of a technology commercialisation programme at the University of Oregon, relating how the university confronted and dealt with the three gaps, and describing the intra-organisational partnerships developed to address them. We find that negotiating the gaps requires assimilation of a technology commercialisation mission into the traditional academic missions of education and scientific discovery. To do this, universities must confront fundamental contradictions between learning, discovery, and commercialisation.
Author Kathryn Aten wrote this paper when affiliated with the Naval Postgraduate School.
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