Turning science into business: A case study of a major European research university.
Bruno Van Pottelsberghe
The ‘entrepreneurial university’ is an increasingly frequent notion in debates about new ways of knowledge production and the changing relationships between university, industry and government. A rich literature has developed exploring outputs of such activity, most notably ‘patenting’, ‘licensing’, and ‘spin-outs’. There is also a literature exploring the organisational process in institutes of higher education (HEI’s). All too often these two streams of literature ignore each other. The objective of this paper is to make a bridging contribution by exploring the case of Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.). The main research question is: Does it pay to make the entire university entrepreneurial? Our observations suggest that this would be an effort that could possibly overstretch an institution’s resources. The U.L.B. case illustrates the potential for nurturing entrepreneurial activities locally as well as the possibilities and limitations of top-down actions instilling entrepreneurial culture mongst academic rank and file.
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