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University Science and Technology Research

I recently sent out an article to law reviews titled The Pull of Patents. Of course, I would love comments or reactions to the essay. But I thought I would raise a particular issue and see if anyone has any thoughts, or better yet, data/studies.

Among other things, I suggest that patents not only enable improved supply of university research to industry for commercialization, but patents also pull/attract university resources used to produce research towards projects that industry demands (i.e., prefers/desires because of commercial prospects). Does anyone know of any empirical studies on how universities have allocated their research-related resources–ranging from $, professorships (initial hiring, tenure), professors’ time, graduate student assistanships, graduate students’ time, equipment, labs, etc.? I am interested in a range of questions: has the allocation of these types of “infrastructural capital” shifted over time toward certain types of research activities? toward those activities more likely to generate patentable results? towards those activities more likely to generate commercializable results? based on commercial prospects? towards generic or special purposes? towards particular industries? and so on. I am aware of some of the general trends in government funding, but I have not yet been able to find data on how universities support.

And if you do not know of any empirical studies but do have your own anecdotal story, let me know in the comments.

Note: I may post more on the role of universities in coming weeks.