As Clarysse and Duchene noted. Though their review appears too overly positive in retrospect, it does highlight the strongly integrated and public sector driven nature of economic policy in the Republic. Change began with the creation of a new entity tasked with defining and responding to emerging trends. Its remit was to advise on policy issues relating to science, technology and innovation.
Located in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the new think tank reported directly to the Minister. The President of the new University of Limerick, Dr. Walsh, known for his mould-breaking opinions and out-spokenness, was appointed as council chair. Forfas statue dated The next task was to achieve buy-in from both industry and the third-level sector to support further radical change.
Here at least, there was a hint that the government or at least the civil service realised that they might not be able to implement the proposed changes themselves and that other agents, in this case the universities, might have a more central role to play in the economic development.
He went on to argue that the craft that drives that progress forward is not single-engined. Rather it is a four-engined craft in which the three other engines of technology, the socio-cultural environment and public sector capacity are also of major importance. Having listed the efforts made by the government to accelerate technological change, Travers went on to provide the justification for the government decision to prioritise public sector funding for only certain niche areas in the emerging sciences by referring to the study of the US team Coates, Mahaffie, and Hines This had identified five areas of new technological developments that would shape the evolution of social and economic development around the world over the next 25 years.
Only the first two were to become the sectors to receive funding under the new initiatives. It would be my contention that it was Coates et al. Drawing on models derived from elsewhere New Zealand, etc. To do this, the knowledge framework can be visualised as a pyramid where industry, the higher education sector, Government and society are the four interlinked faces forming a partnership at all levels.
However, a gap at the apex of the pyramid has been identified; the need for a world-class research capability of sufficient scale in a number of strategic areas within our universities and colleges, research institutes and industry. Continuing the current incremental approach to STI investment will not achieve, it argued, world-class research capability on the scale required.
Here again we see the affirmation of the need for a revolutionary commitment to change. Each sector was asked to nominate participants. These had been created by Forfas prior to the meetings and formed the basis of the subsequent report. Prior to this report, economic development discussion had been dominated by macro economic and business perspectives Culliton, The report prioritised scientific and emerging technology perspectives themselves derived from earlier American-based research.
This had major implications. As it developed there was no mechanism for industry feed back and no voice to raise issues as to relevance and implementation and for whom. During the s, the Irish development agency, Enterprise Ireland, had focused on the creation of a niche development policy, targeting pharmaceutical and ICT manufacturing plants as well as niche players in the medical support areas. This had worked well. In this new phase, a niche approach was again taken.
The degree to which the panel reports did indeed prioritise these sectors, appears to me to be questionable. The nod in the direction of indigenous firms in the Foresight appears to me to assume at best, continual dependency and at the worst is flannel. It fails to grapple with the transformational needs of existing indigenous sectors such as food and construction, and offers no discussion of reach, readiness or research uptake capacity. At best indigenous companies it appears to assume could hope to learn from incoming MNC.
Competing in these technologies means competing with the best in the world. Despite the evidence of massive transformational capability in the education and training sectors since the s, many supported by EU funded programmes, this was downplayed and the report commits to a strategy of external sourcing of new knowledge including people. There are five aspects of these reviews that require comment; the shift in intellectual perspective, the lack of esteem for native innovation, the shift in geographical focus away from Europe to the USA, the centralised planning framework and the ensuing enhancement of dependency, all coupled with revolutionary imagery.
With these three exercises, this approach was relegated to the past and one sees the emergence of scientism as the guiding development perspective.
More in line with past thinking was the emphasis on importing best practice from abroad, to be incorporated into home-based development strategies as part of a continuing neglect of native talent. The EU framework programmes have had as one of their major goals the creation of European-based, world-class, leading edge science as a basis for the development of global product champions. The Framework programmes, seeing such product champions developing from ASUs, sustained a strong focus on SMEs, which became more pronounced as the programmes developed. The SFI vision was itself later highly critical about the inadequacies of the European programmes and their development over time.
The effects of the Foresight report were transformational; the Minister, and thus the government, did not only accept the report but also received massive funding to implement its main conclusions. At this point, Forfas was acting as both policy initiator and as executive and administrative director. Such grants typically won sporadically do not foster the emergence of a sustained critical mass of research competence.
This lack of core research funding left researchers in Ireland with inadequate opportunities to establish for a globally competitive research programmes ibid Vision — people ideas and Partnerships for a globally competitive Irish research system SFI The role of universities and ASUs are not mentioned. It forms a central plank of this paper to suggest that the formulation of the Foresight exercise and in particular the report that followed lead to the exclusion of any discussion of the need for, desirability of, or possibility of ASUs being seen as a part of this publicly funded development agenda.
At this point the champion was called the National Strategic Research Foundation. This was quickly to change. It is interesting to examine the public statements that accompanied the creation of this change agent and the gradual shifts in both title and emphasis that occurred subsequently. Mary Harney, in March The head of Forfas John Travers saw the new champion as justifying its existence because 19 The rapid nature of the Foresight exercise followed by the immediate implementation of certain aspects of the report suggests that the Foresight exercise was more of a window dressing exercising than sustained consultation.
In March , the Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Employment charged ICSTI to develop an organisational framework for an overarching national policy for research and technological development. It also requested the Council to convene a high-level Commission chaired by the Chairman of ICSTI, the same Brian Sweeney who had chaired the Foresight exercise to assist it in bringing forward these proposals. The high-level Commission of national and international experts reported to the Council in November of that year.
The terms of reference tell much about assumptions around change. The functions of the Commission were: A critical part of this involves IDA Ireland in securing the highest level of research alongside these production and services operations. This statement encapsulates what was to become the IDA strategy in the early s, the marketing of Ireland Inc.
Having derived the future vision from the US, it is scarcely surprising that the overall organisational cultural perspectives, norms and appointments were also North American. True to the view that Ireland lacked talent in this sphere, the three science administrators appointed were all US citizens, Dr. Alistair Glass and Dr. Initially the location of SFI as part of a government department was distinctive.
That was rapidly changed. In SFI was established by a parliamentary act as an independent institution in its own right24 and moved outside the control of Forfas who had created it. Harris as director reinforced the US influence at both executive and operational levels. The gaps were also significant. Furthermore, of the Irish participants, two were retired public sector appointees, one a civil servant carrying a brief for the Minister and one a private consultant. As a whole, the Irish participants with the exception of Travers, the retired head of Forfas, who now reappears as a private consultant, lacked either the relevant experience or positional power to act as a counterweight to the US appointees.
SFI systems around funding selection and a diffusion mimicked this US experience. Introduction of this system radically altered the power base of existing scientific departments in the State through the introduction of individually accessed research budgets aimed at young research post docs. Bringing this into the Irish system, where until this point professorial departmental heads held all funding and promotion power, was to say the least a radical break from the existing situation. The funding of only two areas of science further created a two-tiered scientific community.
But curiously, at the end of the all the scenarios and meetings and with funding committed, the specific targets of the SFI remained unclear. Reilly, SFI on line presentation Yet this issue was critical, particularly to the indigenous sector. Overall, if the EU at 1. The reasons for these lacunae are not fully understood. But the absence of defined operational goals did not lead to paralysis.
Each centre was to focus on a particular scientific area such as semiconductors, food science or software. A subgroup chaired by C. The subgroup presented its report on 18th January It was agreed that this subgroup will continue its work focusing on the system used in the US and report back in March.
Review January for C. With this move, SFI took over all basic science research and programmes for individual researchers as well as funding for the creation of the themed science centres CSETS that it had already announced. In the first 2 years the SFI notched up some notable achievements. The individually successful candidates were chosen by a process of international peer review using what was claimed to be an objective system of appraisal, pioneered by the NSF in the US.
This approach further emphasised the groundbreaking nature of what was happening, it drew a line under previous experience and further increased dependency on externally derived models of selection. The third goal that of attracting external talent, was also met. SFI attracted a dozen top researchers from around the globe to base their research in Ireland. SFI defined its target as scientific groups belonging to the American academy of sciences, the Royal Academy, and other such world class authorities in one of the two defined fields of strategic interest, ICT and Biotechnology.
In addition, via the Science University funding initiative, the teams were presented with custom-built labs. These moves could be seen to increase feelings of marginalisation and inferiority among existing science teams. In particular, scientists in the fields of mathematics, physics and chemistry experienced the development of a two tiered science research system in which some were more equal than others. By the SFI appeared to be in pole position. Harris was even involved in overseas trade missions with the IDA. In , 3 years after its foundation, SFI published its first vision statement.
The title itself excluded all reference to economic signals, a further shift away from the initial foundation visions of the Foresight exercise. Why this emerged so late is a puzzle. It contains no discussion of transfer strategies or spin-offs, nor does it mention the need for accompanying support strategies. By , five such centres had been established all but two headed up by and staffed by overseas teams.
The focus now was solely on MNCs, either existing on the ground or as potential relocators. This is clearly seen in SFI press releases, which from onwards, highlight SFI achievements in terms of joint collaborative research activities involving existing MNC subsidiaries. One effect of this 33 The only wider support that Harris acknowledges is the need to ensure an increased supply of new recruits to the areas of science that he is promoting. This he came to argue requires a shift in cultural bedrock in Ireland away from Joyce and towards hitherto unknown Irish scientific luminaries. Those of us who appreciate the value of research have a responsibility to share the awareness so that one day every Irish child will recognise the contributions of Sir Francis Beaufort, Lord Kelvin and Sir William Rowan Hamilton.
The fact that these names do not appear to be mainstream themselves appears to have missed Harris. This contrasted sharply with the aspiration contained in the Foresight exercise. I will quote at length to give the flavour of what was emerging. This quotation could be replicated many times over. The West of Ireland has built up a strong medical industry base and it is now attracting a matching research base with backing from Science Foundation Ireland. The Regenerative Medicine Institute has just opened its doors in January with the assistance of a grant of fifteen million Euros from Science Foundation Ireland.
The grant is for a 5-year period. The Institute has linked up with two companies; Medtronic a US-based medical devices company and Chondrogene, a Canadian biotech firm, which is exploring the association between cartilage problems and defective genes. Medtronic already has a large manufacturing plant in Galway and while substantial engineering research is carried out there, the idea is that activity in the biotechnology area could be added through the association with the new centre.
A lot of basic research is required. We are looking at a ten to fifteen year time horizon before current innovations become accepted, standard practice. A number of researchers have returned, or have arrived from other countries. There will be a time lag before this translates into real delivery. Now, the human infrastructure is being assembled so that the capital infrastructure can be put to best use.
The Institute has just started recruiting. If I am right, then my colleague and I in were asking the wrong question to the wrong people. SFI, I would argue, as it stands, is not about the creation and development of ASUs as the building blocks for product champions but the upgrading and extension of an existing attraction and retention strategy for MNC subsidiaries. The possibilities for the post-doc teams I encountered seem at best to be the development of incorporated vehicles for recently patented discoveries.
So finally, it became possible to understand the logic behind the apparent arrogant neglect of enterprise learning as it appeared in the post-doc teams I encountered. Once one knows that, then everyone is happy — the development authorities, the MNC and even the enterprise researchers who can now stop looking for new product champions and have discovered a new ASU model, the Mayfly ASU. Both Harris and Glass are so well acquainted with the US scientific community that one can only imagine the enormous credibility that their presence must lend any trade mission. What is new about the new economy: Sources of growth in the managed and entrepreneurial economies.
Industrial and Corporate Change, 10 1 , 25— Determinants and policy in a European — US comparison. The impact of entrepreneurship on economic growth. Audetsch Eds , Handbook of entrepreneurship research pp. Exploitation and diffusion of public research: Innovation policy in Ireland from FDI to competitive indigenous companies. Scenarios of US and global society reshaped by science and technology.
Midpoint Trade Books Inc. A Time for change: Industrial policy for the s. The research and development element of the science and technology budget. Building Irelands knowledge economy: Academic and surrogate entrepreneurs in University spin out companies. Journal of Technology Transfer, 26, — Spinoffs from public research trends and outlooks STI. Science Technology and Industry, 26, — A Case Study of an Entrepreneurship Programme Magnus Klofsten Introduction There is growing worldwide interest in entrepreneurship and new business development.
This has become particularly widespread in Sweden during the last 10 years. We see more and more professorships in entrepreneurship at our universities, new credit-bearing courses on entrepreneurship are emerging and different training programmes for those who want to start new firms are being developed. One way to achieve this could be to arrange entrepreneurship training programmes.
The aim of this paper is, through a case study, to find out how efficient entrepreneurship training can be, and what the actual success factors are. The data analysed below comes from the entrepreneurship and new business programme ENP , for training individuals to start new technology-based or knowledgeintensive businesses.
This programme has now spread in many districts of Sweden and has, in recent years, also been internationalised.
Since the beginning of , over 50 programmes have been carried out, which have resulted in more than new businesses as well as a dozen or more new business areas within established organisations. Today, these firms and organisations employ over people. Thereafter, the programme itself is presented, followed by feedback from participants and what characterises a successful entrepreneurship programme.
The paper concludes with a summary where a number of conclusions are drawn. On Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Different aspects of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship have been frequently discussed over the years. The literature in this field supports the argument that there is no universal definition of entrepreneur or entrepreneurship.
The attempts that have been made to differentiate, for example entrepreneurs from small business leaders and business executives in general have not been able to make a clear distinction between the two Brockhaus, Moreover, he advocates a behavioural outlook where it is the creation of new organisations that is the central issue in entrepreneurship. With this premise, what differentiates entrepreneurs from nonentrepreneurs would be that entrepreneurs create organisations, while non-entrepreneurs do not.
Entrepreneurship is, accordingly, in its most basic form, the creation of new organisations. The creation of organisations can, logically, mean the start of, for example new firms as well as the initiation of a project or a business area in an established organisation. By focusing on activities rather than personal characteristics, the complicated discussion on whether one is born to be an entrepreneur or not is avoided. They are of the opinion that each training activity should have a unique purpose and pedagogical design.
In this paper it is suggested that three basic activities should be undertaken at universities and colleges: From this point of view, entrepreneurship should permeate all activities at the university: For example an entrepreneurial university culture and a selection of courses in entrepreneurship would most likely to influence attitudes positively towards starting businesses and, hopefully, their quality.
Barriers and Opportunities in the Training of Entrepreneurs There exist many obstacles and opportunities, both on the supply side the one who trains and the demand side the one to be trained , in entrepreneurship training. On the supply side, many studies have found a resistance to entrepreneurship education at our universities.
In the last decade, however, entrepreneurship as an academic discipline in its own right has developed, and there is a growing acceptance of conducting research, education and training in entrepreneurship in our university systems. To deliver effective training in different situations is a difficult task.
This usually has to do with a discrepancy between what entrepreneurial content is desired and what actually reaches the one to be trained Gibb, Other studies show, that entrepreneurs, depending on their experiences and degree of success, have differing attitudes to training. Klofsten and Mikaelsson found that the further entrepreneurs had progressed in their development, and the more successful it was, the more positive was their attitude towards training. These entrepreneurs also spent more time looking for different alternative training programmes on the market, which at last resulted in finding the right one.
Critical voices have also been raised against the training of firms in general. Westhead and Storey maintained that the link between management training and work performance in firms that provide training is weak. In this study, however, no distinction between general management training and training in entrepreneurship was made. Since the late s, a large number of firms had spun off, mainly in connection with the technical university e. IFS, Intentia and Sectra.
It was rather a question of individual academics at the university combining with SMIL to ensure that the programme was launched. During the first programme in the late s, which was more of a pilot approximately 10 people representing five potential firms participated. The programme evaluation was very positive, and we were encouraged to continue. Interest in the programme has since then grown considerably. In the subsequent two programmes that were conducted in , 52 people participated and 40 new firms were created. The programme has in recent years also grown nationally and internationally.
In a programme was conducted in Moldavia, and in , a new programme was started in Russia — in the Kaluga region. Participants were required to be progressive in their entrepreneurship with future business growth in their objective. Specifically, the ENP contains the following activities: Each participant was required to develop a simple business plan where the purpose was to structure and clarify the idea. In these, the most important components in the business development process are explained with emphasis placed on the ability of participants to present their ideas.
Each participant was given a mentor who had been or was a senior entrepreneur. The participants regularly met a supervisor who checked progress, and from whom they received coaching. Each participant was given membership of SMIL free of charge for the year in which the programme took place. Another important aspect of the programme was access to a good network e. SMIL , SMIL is comprised of not only numerous experienced entrepreneurs, but also financiers and members of other supporting organisations.
Another aspect of this programme was the distinction between mentoring and supervision. The former has more to do with the transmission of actual experiences of business from the mentor to the participants, while the role of the latter is that of following-up i. In the beginning, the programme lasted approximately 1 year, beginning in the early spring and finishing in November or December. It soon became clear that this time span was far too drawn out, mainly because most participants were able to start their firms before the programme concluded.
Put simply, the programme required a shorter time span. It was therefore decided to shorten the programme considerably, and today it spans from 4 to 6 months period. This shortening had a positive impact and the participants were more engaged than previously in the duration of the programme. Firms and other organisations, which are members of SMIL, are invited via e-mail, fax or regular mail.
The ENP has two main target groups see appendix for examples: Participants should have a communicable idea which need not be fully articulated , and they should be enthusiastic. Each of the applicants is interviewed by the programme management to ensure that they fulfil these two criteria and that they have understood that the aim of the programme is for the participants to start new businesses, and that the programme is not the usual credit-bearing university course.
This relatively simple and informal recruiting procedure was chosen based on the following: Consequently, the programme emphasises the entrepreneur or the entrepreneurial team rather than the idea. To develop an idea into a business is a process that can take long time. It is wholly dependent on the persons behind the firm and their ability to take advantage of business opportunities on the market. That which is offered can be compared to an arena of activities or opportunities where the participant is responsible for taking advantage of these as effectively he or she can.
Funding the Programme There is no fee for participating in an ENP programme, a decision that was taken before the programme was initiated. The reason was that the target groups, largely expected to be students, lack the ability to pay and it would therefore not be suitable to demand a fee that might cause individuals with entrepreneurial characteristics to miss this opportunity.
However, a deposit of SEK is required from each participant when he or she produces a participating idea project at the beginning of the programme. This fee is returned on the condition that the participant is committed, turns in an evaluation and presents his or her business plan at the end of the programme.
It was also considered whether some form of ownership of any new firm activities could be a long-term source of funding for the ENP programme. However, this option was not pursued primarily because the university and SMIL wanted to remain neutral partners and avoid becoming an investment company. The programmes are financed through public money from the Nutek and the Technology Bridge Foundation. The costs of running a normal-sized programme at the university with 10—12 firms are reported to be approximately , SEK 50, Euro. Feedback from the Participants Continuous follow-ups are made to check on this progress of alumni, and participants have responded that the programme gave them the following: Support and pressure to achieve.
The network that we were given access to has stimulated our development. I feel more secure on what is required and have been given a good foundation to stand on. It has meant that I have a more professional view of entrepreneurship.
Analyse the business idea and business plan. Had it illustrated in different ways. A good start and probably a contributing factor to why I kept at it. Have become more secure in my role as a business leader. Those who did not complete the programme, stated primary causes, such as the splitting up of the founding team, a lack of time, family circumstances or a business idea that did not turn out well.
However, lack of time was the most common reason why researchers i. Success Factors in Entrepreneurship Training From the start we have regularly evaluated the programme in order to continually improve their structure and process. Based on this work, the following success factors have been identified: The contents of the programme should be broad, so that many conceivable aspects of starting new businesses are dealt with. It is not certain that the participants are best at defining their actual needs.
The supervisor or the mentor can help, based on the experienced need, to define the actual need and then to assist with a solution. The participants seldom have an established network and are usually in great need of coming into contact with other business leaders, not only to get advice, but also to form business contacts.
Many of the participants lack experience in entrepreneurship, and it is important to begin to view them as business leaders as soon as possible and get them to grow into this role. Engage people, for example experienced entrepreneurs, who have skills that, from experience, have proven to be functional and successful.
It is our experience that taking time to carefully choose a group of mentors is worth the effort. Factors that are important to consider are, for example personal chemistry, age and the student competency profile. The programmes should be practically oriented, but it is often advantageous that certain steps are set in a theoretical context. The ENP is designed for technology-based and knowledge-intensive activities where the majority of the participants have a common academic background.
One requirement for being able to carry out a programme effectively is that the participants are frank with each other. Business development, however, is often associated with secretiveness, and it is hardly suitable to write secrecy agreements between everyone who is involved in a programme. Therefore, a working climate based on confidence must be quickly established, both among the participants, and with programme management, to create an air of frankness.
Entrepreneurship is associated with activity, drive, flexibility and frankness. This must be reflected in the organisation of the programme at all levels. At the same time, there must also be orderliness. For society, the number of new firms or the number of new jobs created is a natural measure of success. This way of evaluating success must, however, be used with some caution. We must therefore have a long-term perspective on the benefits of initiatives, such as the ENP.
Discussion and Conclusions In this paper a programme for training individuals to act entrepreneurially was described and analysed. Arguments were made that entrepreneurship is behaviourally conditioned. Previous studies on entrepreneurship training have shown that individuals who are ambitious, well-motivated and willing to take risks often run up against barriers that inhibit them from letting loose their energies Kent, ; Rabbior, These barriers are associated with internal goals and the setting of priorities among prospective entrepreneurs as well as the requisite expertise and credibility of those who offer training in entrepreneurship.
It is important, as in other contexts, to be aware of the success factors, examples of which have been given above. It has become evident that the growing institutionalisation of entrepreneurship in our universities has generated new implications both for research and practice. The individual or individuals who are setting up new business are often inexperienced, have no employees, lack sufficient funds or a developed network. The business ideas that such individuals have are usually vague, but the driving forces are strong. These aspects are prominent in the evaluations that have been made of the ENP.
The participants emphasise not only the academic aspects of their programmes, but also that they were better able to structure their business development work, had access to a network of experienced entrepreneurs, and were given professional treatment and feedback on their ideas. Programme management has also witnessed with great satisfaction how individual participants were able to grow as entrepreneurs during the course of a programme. Rabbior and Klofsten and Spaeth maintain that entrepreneurship training should not be evaluated on quantities, such as numbers of newly started businesses or growth in these.
This does not mean that such measures are uninteresting when they, for example provide information on the efficiency of the training among trainees. But in many cases individual participants in the programme will not be starting new businesses, neither in the short nor in the long-term.
Instead, insights that are generated by a programme can hopefully be used in other contexts, for example in association with business development in established firms. Results of training programmes are best evaluated using distinct aims formulated in advance, and there are no hard and fast rules for what these are or ought to be. The use of experienced entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial supervisors, with this premise, is naturally something that paves the way for success in a training programme.
In an evaluation of the number of newly started firms, it should also be kept in mind that the results in part depend on the admission criteria for the programme used and the initial requirements placed on the participants. The spread of the ENP model to other areas of Sweden, e. It is, however, important to realise that it takes time to create growth businesses and generate employment through new business development.
In this connection, the ENP is an important instrument for supporting these processes, but as discussed above, the results should be judged over a 7—year period. There are several initiatives today that aim to be the catalysts for economic development in a region. Included here, among other things, are incubators, science parks, different organisations for the development of networks and other forms of business development support.
Substantial resources are being invested today in the creation of different types of physical infrastructure. We can build the most spectacular buildings, and draw up the most generous budgets and thorough organisation charts. But based on the perspective presented in this paper, our work will come to nothing without motivated entrepreneurs of high-quality, produced through practically oriented training able to meet the real needs of these entrepreneurial individuals. Acknowledgement Many thanks to Mr.
The author also wants to thank Technology Link for the financial support of this study. Activities are oriented towards environmental impact descriptions, environmental management practices landscaping, conservation planning and environmental restoration. Kreatel Communications AB The company was founded by two students in At present, activities are to develop products for digital TV via broadband, either via an ADSL modem or via a fibre-based network.
The company produces products capable of automatic monitoring and communication with mechanical equipment, so-called M2M applications. The company develops, among other things, modelling and simulation tools. The company develops physics generators for the simulation of realistic movements in threedimensional, virtual surroundings. The company develops microsurgical instruments based on electroactive polymer components. Activities are concentrated in the area of software and information services, including the development of programmes and services for terminology management.
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Forty-six of the fiftynine biotechnology companies are located in five major concentrations comprising Dublin 16 , Belfast 14 , Cork 8 , Galway 5 and Coleraine 3. These moves could be seen to increase feelings of marginalisation and inferiority among existing science teams. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 22 4 , — If I am right, then my colleague and I in were asking the wrong question to the wrong people. These aspects are prominent in the evaluations that have been made of the ENP.
Management training and small firm performance: Why is the link so weak? International Small Business Journal, 14 4 , 13— Managing competence development and acquisition in small manufacturing firms. As a result academics, in the main, remain reluctant to explore the potential for commercialising their research. Traditionally the debate about the impact of such intervention initiatives has focused on the skills, or rather the skills shortages, of the universities.
In this paper we seek to add to this debate by examining the role of networks. We propose that networks are an important determinant of university success in commercialising their research. Information, advice and financial resources from actors, external to the university may, therefore, need to be sought.
In this paper we focus on two principal types of network. Our arguments are stylised for simplicity thus: Within the UK, many science-based academics are solely engaged within a peer review research networks, which are primarily concerned with publication of research evidence. This leads to the development of scientific elites, which are aided by the peer review process in scholarly publications, and also the distribution of research grants.
Academics can utilise their ties within the scientific academic networks to identify technical opportunities but not necessarily commercial opportunities. The reluctance or inability of most academics to develop ties with several actors positioned in practitioner networks may retard the commercialisation process. They can provide academics with the resources and for broader expertise they need to convert a technical idea into a new commercial business.
Practitioners can provide expertise related to several issues i. Academics who develop broader network ties may therefore more quickly address several barriers to the commercialisation of knowledge from universities. However even if ties exist between the networks, the actors involved may have difficulties in communicating with one another. Academics, for example may have close or strong ties with other team members in their department. Repeated collaboration between academics in the same department may lead to mutual trust and thereby closer working relationships.
Cooper and Yin , p. Their individual entrepreneurial attributes and capabilities may, therefore, be subsequently enhanced by focusing on loose or weak ties with industrial actors. Moreover, through their actions they may well act as an agent of change to promote wider commercialisation and hence change the attitudes of academics. Building upon existing research into network theory we specifically address two questions: This paper is structured as follows. In Section 2 we outline our methodology and data collection techniques a while.
Section 3 presents the findings of the case-study. The fourth section discussion builds upon the case-material to develop a theoretical framework and provide propositions to guide future research. In this section we first outline the Medici Fellowship programme, on which the case-study is based. We then comment on the data collection methods employed in a case-study. It was implemented within five research intensive universities located in the midlands of England. Each university had a strong tradition in biomedical research, yet exhibit a diverse record on commercialisation.
The aim of the scheme is to engender a culture of change within biomedical faculties towards the commercialisation of their research. In total 50 annual fellowships were established across the 5 universities over a 2-year period between September and September September and September All fellows had considerable academic research experience within the biosciences, and were required to demonstrate a personal desire to learn about the theory and practice of commercialisation.
Fellows were provided with local training at their host institution. Typically this involved participation in Business School teaching modules related to finance, marketing, intellectual property and business strategy. To help them put their training into practice they were provided with a mentor, which was typically a Business Development Officer BDO.
Within each Institution a host of other intervention initiatives were conducted in parallel. Notable examples include networking events, staff training days and business plan competitions. Global training workshops for first cohort of medici fellows. This variance can be seen in Table 2 and includes the academic position of the fellow, their role in terms of commercialisation activities within the school, and the overall level of commercialisation activity within the school.
Data were collected using in depth face to face and telephone interviews with the 6 fellows and 20 other key actors having direct experience of the differing intervention initiatives underway between and within the host schools. The respondents therefore included: Interview transcripts were analysed separately for each case through consideration of the research questions.
In this way theoretical insights were gained through an iterative process of comparative analysis. Triangulation was aided through the collection of numerous secondary data Yin, These data included records of the commercialisation performance of the participating schools and feedback forms completed by the fellows following each training event. Three researchers took part in the inquiry. The interviews and subsequent analysis was deliberately isolated Yin, To help minimise confirmatory bias one researcher conducted the interviews while the remaining researchers explored the collected data.
Firstly, the impact of the Medici fellows upon the interactions between the academic and practitioner networks. Secondly, the impact of the Medici fellows upon the information exchanged between the academic and practitioner networks. Interactions between Academic and Practitioner Networks Respondents were first asked questions regarding the awareness and use of network actors by Medici fellows within their schools.
Characteristics of the interview respondents. Adapted from Wright et al. Exploring commercialisation of research within group Intellectual property management university wide Strategic management of I. According to the respondents the fellows were aware of 12 of the 17 network actors. Respondents reported the usage of the network actors the fellows were aware of.
Considerable variability in the reported usage of the network actors is summarised in Table 3. At least three quarters of the fellows had used the following practitioner network actors: Conversely, the following practitioner actors were used by less than half of fellows: Usefulness of network actors used by medici fellows No. Respondents were then asked to rank the usefulness of the actors the fellows had used.
Table 4 shows that the following four actors had mean scores of 4 or higher: In contrast, the following actors had mean scores of 3. In summary, the most useful practitioner actors were seen to provide legal advice. By contrast, the practitioner actors offering equity finance were found less useful.
Equally, the potentially useful intermediaries of surrogate entrepreneurs and management consultants were also considered less useful. Impact of the Medici fellows on the resources exchanged 1. Encouraging academics to exploit the IP generated from their research 2. Access to market information 3. Working with other HE or research institutes 4. Access to potential partner firms 5. Working with other departments within University 6.
Access to potential customers 7. Availability of proof of concept funding 8. Access to management skills 9. Ability to obtain finance from industrial partners Ability to obtain finance from venture capital firms Attracting commercial management to spin outs Ability to obtain finance from business angels No.
The following scale was used: Eight out of the 12 specified statements had mean scores of 3. Only two out of the specified statements had mean scores of 3. TTO 6 , for example asserted: The Medici scheme had most impact via technology audits — establishing what the Academics are doing and then encouraging them to bring their ideas forward and develop them. By developing new weak ties to industry actors fellows were seen to provide market research and potential partners firms for academics. It was project dependent but fellows because of their skill base were able to assist on any aspect.
Forming new ties also provided benefits to the fellow, as argued by a Fellow 5: I gained team-working skills. I learnt to network and it provided ways of working with industry. And it provided contacts. I now look at new projects in a different way. I would try and commercialise rather than creating a one off. This was supported by another Fellow 4 , who asserted: The fellows also built new weak ties between academic and financial actors, particularly with proof of concept funders who focus upon early stage projects.
One academic for example, claimed: The fellow provided the ability to get things done — going forward with ideas. If I was aware of awards the Medici Fellow could find out about the award, start to draft the proposal, have input from myself and then make a success of it. Ties between academics and business angels and venture capitalists were, however, less frequently established. Demand and supply issues may account for the latter pattern. The pecking order hypothesis of Myers suggests that many smaller firms choose to use sources of finance in this order of precedence: Discussion In this section, we draw together the evidence presented above to develop a theoretical model of the impact made by fellowship schemes.
In doing so we generate propositions to guide future research into the effectiveness of fellowship schemes. To consider this phenomenon we employ a network perspective. Firstly, the network content, defined as the nature of the content exchanged between actors in the network. Secondly, the network governance, defined as the mechanisms that govern relationships between actors. We observed the Medici scheme to have a positive impact upon each of these perspectives. Moreover, the fellows formed new ties with other public sector actors to gain proof of concept funding.
These activities were observed to affect the governance within the academic network as an increasing number of academics saw a potential benefit in engaging outside their peer review network. Benefits realised included improved financial resources and also increased technical resources through new academic interactions.
Here we propose that fellowship schemes can provide a potential advantage over other intervention schemes, such as business plan competitions, public venture funds or public sector advisors. If fellows are drawn from within the academic network, they are considered as more credible advisors and potential role models. The proposed impact of commercialisation fellowship schemes. This leads to our first finding. Furthermore, the fellowship scheme was seen to affect the network structure since it increased the number of weak ties to industry actors based within the legal profession and within large and small firms.
Medici fellows were seen to create these ties personally and then to transfer them to academic colleagues. Similarly new weak ties were formed with public sector bodies where financial benefits were recognised. These arguments lead to our second finding. It must be acknowledged, however, that the fellows, we studied, tended not to form ties with some types of actors.
Equally they infrequently engaged with equity funding sources. Within the Medici fellowship two constraints may explain this deficiency: The above findings suggest that such fellowship programmes may have an important role to play in terms of: The findings reported here are based upon the opinions of individuals who have, in the main, been positively affected by the Medici scheme.
We feel that it is important, however, to note that the same individuals have also reported participation with a range of other intervention initiatives. There was, however, a remarkable degree of consensus relating to the advantage of the fellowship schemes over other initiatives, in particular in relation to encouraging academics to exploit the IP within their research and engage with industry networks.
Nevertheless it must be noted that within the departments studied barriers remained. This remains to be established through further research. Prospects for a new concept. Academy of Management Review, 27, 17— Value creation in e business. Strategic Management Journal, 22, — Small firm strategic research partnerships: The case of biotechnology. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 15, — Perhaps the best example of resurrection has been the rebirth of interest in the subject of clustering or agglomeration as it applies to HTSFs, notably led by Michael Porter.
This interest has extended, and put a new slant upon, work consistently well represented in these volumes on networking. This trend is evidenced by the presence of four papers in the concluding Part IV of this volume on "Clusters and Networks". Both individually and in aggregate, this series of books on HTSF development and growth issues represents a "one stop shop" for all those seeking to gain a broad understanding of the evolution of HTSF research since by providing a record of the manner in which this research agenda has evolved over these years. Chance of Rain Gary Cook. Flatpicking Cookbook Gary Cook.