Beyond Scientific Excellence: International Mobility and the Entrepreneurial Activities of Academic Scientists

Wolf-Hendrik Uhlbach*, Valentina Tartari, H.C. Kongsted

*Corresponding author for this work

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As the international mobility of academic scientists is ever increasing, its effects on outcomes beyond research productivity deserve more attention. In this paper, we therefore investigate to what extent academics with different international mobility experiences differ in their likelihood to commercialize their research through entrepreneurship. To answer this question, we make use of a detailed survey covering all academics employed at Danish universities in 2017. Empirically, we distinguish three groups of academics according to their international experience (stayers, returnee, and immigrants) and focus on entrepreneurial outcomes realized while residing in the host country, Denmark. The estimation of duration models reveals that returnees are more than 50% more likely to become academic entrepreneurs than stayers. Immigrants, however, were between 38 and 47% less likely to start a firm than returnees. This difference seems to increase at higher levels of commercially relevant research and international research stays at international top institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104401
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online 17 October 2021.


  • Academic entrepreneurship
  • International mobility of scientists
  • High-skilled migration
  • Immigrant entrepreneurship

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