Is the commercialization of European academic R&D weak? - A critical assessment of a dominant belief and associated policy responses
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2013
There is a widespread belief that EU underperforms in the commercialization of publicly funded research and that the appropriate policy response is to transfer the ownership of intellectual property rights to Universities. This paper assesses the validity of these twin beliefs. In addressing the first, we limit ourselves to Sweden which still retains its "Teacher's Exemption" model. In spite of confident statements made in the literature and by Government, we provide evidence to the contrary, i.e. that Swedish academia performs well in terms of commercialization. We also have doubts about the usefulness of the medicine prescribed to cure the alleged problem. Largely drawing on US literature, we argue that the medicine risks harming strong university-industry networks, biasing technical change, reducing entrepreneurial activity and generating costs to Universities which may be detrimental to technology transfer. In conclusion, we seriously question the validity of both beliefs.