Impact Assessment of Innovation Policy

B. Implications of commercialisation for public research

Success of research-intensive universities such as MIT and Stanford, which effectively became knowledge hubs of vibrant industry, encouraged many countries to undertake a variety of policy measures in support of commercialisation. Such policy could help exploit stock of valuable knowledge residing in public research institutions (Mazzoleni and Nelson, 1998). However, if public research organisations collaborate more with industry and invest more in commercialisation, this may affect the quantity or quality of research conducted by these institutions. These potential costs need to be taken into account to fully evaluate contributions and downsides to the contributions of the commercialisation of public research to innovation.

Research outputs may be affected if collaboration efforts change researchers’ incentives and make them focus more on developing commercial products than conduct research. Such collaboration may also have negative impacts if they reduce the time available for researchers, modify the direction of research away from basic research towards more applied fields or restrict the open dissemination of research discoveries. Moreover, if public research organisations develop strong commercial interests in selling their IP, valuable more informal collaborations with industry may be negatively affected (Valentin and Jensen, 2007). However, empirical evidence has shown stronger linkages with industry support scientific institutions and their research activities (Perkmann et al., 2013; Agrawal and Henderson, 2002; Thursby and Thursby, 2011).