Commercialization Activity and Support Structure of Swedish universities

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi; Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi


Knowledge and technology has in recent decades become a driving force of economic growth and national productivity (Goldfarb & Henrekson, 2003). This recognition has had an impact of the universities’ core mission. Traditionally, the core mission of uni-versities has been teaching and researching, but nowadays the universities are also ex-pected to take on an active role in commercialization of the research result as a part of their mission. The Swedish government invests heavily in R&D and perceives the in-vestment as vital for the innovation system. However, the high investment have caused a lot of controversy and debates due to the perception of low innovation output in rela-tion to the investment, a phenomenon which is generally known as “The Swedish para-dox”. The Swedish paradox is influenced by several factors, one of them is that the high expenditures in university R&D generates poor outcome in relation to the investments (Henrekson & Rosenberg, 2001; Goldfarb and Henrekson, 2003). The purpose of this thesis was to explore how Swedish universities’ influence the Swedish paradox through their commercialization activities and support structures. Commercialization activities refer to the various activities which universities may choose in order to commercialize its research, including patenting, licensing, spin-offs and human capital activities. The support structure refers to the structure which the universities use to facilitate commer-cialization. In order to fulfill the purpose a multiple case-study approach was chosen in which semi-structured interviews were conducted. The chosen universities in the study were Halmstad University, Jönköping University, Linnaeus University and Lund Uni-versity. The underlying reason for the chosen approach was that the material needed to answer the purpose was to be found in a qualitative approach. The main finding of the study is that there exists insufficiencies in university commer-cialization activities and support structures which may explain why research results tend to remain at the universities, hence influencing the Swedish paradox. The results gave indications of; the tendency of too complex commercialization systems, lack of encour-agement of researchers’ involvement in commercialization, the modest use of collabora-tive agreements for collective efforts in commercialization and low prioritizing of li-censing and patenting, and finally, the necessity of a culture which advocates commer-cialization and senior management support who places commercialization as a central issue. This study leverages an insight into universities commercialization and its influ-ence on the Swedish paradox, the result of this study is valuable for both universities, in order to improve their commercialization performance and for the region and nation for a possibility to increase the output of university commercialization.

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