The research university, entrepreneurship and regional development: Research propositions and current evidence

Helen Lawton Smith, Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Drivers of a university’s intent to become more than a ‘latent asset’ in a regional economy are affected by its response to external and internal pressures to improve its economic impact. It can do this by becoming ‘entrepreneurial’ (Clark, 1998; Siegel et al. 2004; Bercovitz and Feldman 2006), varieties of being entrepreneurial: ‘commercial’ or ‘connected’ (Kitson et al. 2009), or all three. Kitson et al. Describe the ‘connected university’ as engaging in building clusters, connecting to national and international economies, and bringing together thinking, practice and finance for regional development. Clark’s (1998) take on the entrepreneurial university is that it is one where the ethos of entrepreneurship is pervasive. It has a strengthened steering core, formal means of university-economy-community interaction and diverse sources of funding that underpin interaction and implementation (Rinne and Koivula 2005; see also Siegel et al. 2003). In some cases, motivation driving universities to become entrepreneurial is external such as national legislation and public policy. In other cases, it is internal pressures – both can result in new opportunities, creation of incentives and rewards for technology transfer, and increased industrial funding (Geuna and Muscio 2009). In the US, drivers of change and the rise of entrepreneurial scientists and the entrepreneurial university have been identified as the outcome of a revolutionary process with big science programmes launched after the Second World War (Etzkowitz 1983). Franzoni and Lissoni (2009), however, suggest an alternative perspective, that is, the American model of entrepreneurial university appears more deeply rooted in the gradual evolution of US universities from teaching colleges to modern research institutions. Moreover, the regional role of land-grant universities, which include some of the top research universities (e.g. University of California and MIT), was enshrined in their establishing principles. Another debate in the US is the impact of national regulatory frameworks on technology transfer, in particular the 1980 US Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed universities to patent the results of publicly funded research. It has been suggested that this did not have the intended positive impact on commercialization of federally funded research results (Litan et al. 2007) and that the current university ownership model might not be optimal in encouraging entrepreneurship (Mowery and Sampat 2005; Kenney and Patton 2009).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUniversities, Cities and Regions
Subtitle of host publicationLoci for Knowledge and Innovation Creation
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781136221323
ISBN (Print)9780203097144
StatePublished - Dec 7 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


Dive into the research topics of 'The research university, entrepreneurship and regional development: Research propositions and current evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this