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Academic Engagement, Commercialization, and Scholarship: Empirical Evidence from Agricultural and Life Scientists at US Land Grant Universities

Bradford Barham, Jeremy Foltz, Ana Paula Melo


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Economics of Research and Innovation in Agriculture, Petra Moser, editor
Conference held May 17, 2019
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press

This article examines the involvement of agricultural and life science faculty at U.S. land grant universities in two types of university-industry relations (academic engagement, academic commercialization) and traditional academic scholarship. It exploits large-scale, random sample cross-section surveys in 2005 and 2015 to fill a knowledge gap regarding the prevalence, coincidence, intensity, importance and factors shaping faculty involvement in university-industry relations (UIR). Academic engagement, which includes sponsored research, industry collaborations, and presentations, is far more prevalent and important than is academic commercialization, which includes patenting, licensing, and start-ups. Academic engagement generates 15–20 times the research funds than academic commercialization does. UIR activities are higher among faculty with higher academic scholarship activity, so UIR and academic scholarship appears to be synergistic. While individual, institutional, and university-level factors all help explain faculty UIR activity, econometric analysis highlights differences across fields as well as faculty attitudes toward science and commercial activity in shaping the involvement with the two types of UIR. Significant differences also stem from university fixed effects and may be contingent on history, location, and quality of science.

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