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The effects of non-academic work experience on external interaction and research performance

Abstract

We ask whether academic employees with non-academic work experience differ from their colleagues with respect to interaction with external stakeholders and research performance. We use a science and technical human capital perspective and address the question through an analysis of 4400 survey responses from academic employees in Norwegian universities and colleges. Non-academic work experience is common in all academic fields; it characterises more than half of the tenured academic staff members in Norway. Our analysis indicates that, in general, external interaction is positively influenced by non-academic work experience, in line with prior research. Contrary to expectations, we find few signs of a trade-off or a “punishment” effect of non-academic work experience on scientific productivity. Non-academic work experience is neither significantly related to publication productivity nor share of publications in highly ranked journals, but there are important differences based on the type of previous work experience.

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Acknowledgements

The data used in this article was collected by the Nordic Institute for Studies of Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU). Funding was provided by the Ministry of Science and Education in Norway through a strategic research programme granted to NIFU. The support from the Ministry, staff at NIFU (Nicoline Frölich, Per Olaf Aamodt, Ingvild Reymert), Fulvio Castellacci at TIK and the special issue editors and reviewers is gratefully acknowledged. Mistakes and omissions remain our responsibilities.

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Correspondence to Magnus Gulbrandsen.

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Gulbrandsen, M., Thune, T. The effects of non-academic work experience on external interaction and research performance. J Technol Transf 42, 795–813 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-017-9556-1

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Keywords

  • Academic engagement
  • Non-academic work experience
  • Scientific and technical human capital
  • Academic entrepreneurship
  • University–industry relations

JEL Classification

  • I23
  • O32
  • L23
  • M54