Ivory Tower vs. Business Incubator: A study on academic entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom and its relationship to scientific productivity

Kirill Prokhorov

Student thesis: Master thesis


Over the last years, academic entrepreneurship has become a widespread phenomenon and established itself as an important object of study among researchers focused on innovation, knowledge transfer, and university-industry cooperation. While many authors consider it beneficial, existing literature also provides some ground for concern, since deliberate commercialization activities of faculty members may not be necessarily compatible with pure scientific performance, which is positioned at the center of university-based system of knowledge production. Addressing such an ambiguity, this thesis investigates academic entrepreneurship within biosciences in the United Kingdom and studies its relationship to scientific productivity of university spinoff creators. Starting with a comprehensive literature overview, the paper develops a set of hypotheses about the nature of this relationship and then tests them by applying methods of descriptive and inferential statistics to a dataset of university researchers. Following this approach, this thesis presents a professional portrait of an academic entrepreneur and reveals a positive correlation between commercialization and publication activity. Studying this correlation deeper, the paper finds academic entrepreneurship neither necessarily beneficial nor harmful to scientific productivity by itself but reports on additional factors which may help interpret the positive relationship between two phenomena. As such, this research expands our empirical knowledge on the topic and helps derive a set of practical implications and policy recommendations. Keywords: academic entrepreneurship, scientific productivity, publication activity, university spinoff, United Kingdom, biosciences.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages72