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University Autonomy and Commercialization of Publicly Funded Research: the Case of Latvia

Abstract

Commercialization of publicly funded research has been widely discussed in academic literature since the introduction of the Bayh-Dole Act in the 1980s in the USA. Existing literature primarily focused on the role of universities, models of technology transfer, and incentives that facilitate it. By focusing on university autonomy as one of the key variables, this article shows that incentives for research commercialization can be affected by a top-down implementation that disregards the needs and capabilities of universities to exploit them. By examining research commercialization in Latvia using secondary data and interviews, this exploratory case study shows that external funding sources set the overall direction of policy instruments, focus on quantifiable outputs to increase accountability, and are excessively restrictive while at the same time not addressing the path dependency. The results of this study suggest that by allowing greater flexibility and experimentation with funding, universities could develop entrepreneurial culture and address other deficiencies and commercialize their research more successfully.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Within the scope of the incentive, “Knowledge and technology transfer” was defined as the transfer of specific knowledge, production skills and technologies from the developer to the user for production or application necessities.

  2. 2.

    Phase III – aut

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Acknowledgments

The author would like to thank prof. Adam Mossoff and his colleagues at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, for giving valuable feedback and guidance. Research visit to George Mason University in 2017 was funded by the Dora Plus PhD student mobility program in Estonia, and further research was carried out within the 2018-2019 Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowship program.

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Correspondence to Lauma Muizniece.

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The author has worked at two organizations discussed in the article: previously as a technology transfer staff at the University of Latvia (2010–2017) and currently at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia as the Head of Technology Transfer Unit.

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Annex I

Annex I

Table 2 List of Interviews

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Muizniece, L. University Autonomy and Commercialization of Publicly Funded Research: the Case of Latvia. J Knowl Econ 12, 1494–1516 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13132-020-00681-x

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Keywords

  • Innovation policy
  • Commercialization of publicly funded research
  • Technology transfer
  • University autonomy

JEL Code

  • O31
  • O32
  • O38