[EAS]Universities as Incubators

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Sat Sep 22 16:06:02 EDT 2001

Subject:   Universities as Incubators

(from Edupage, September 21, 2001)

The top research universities in the Washington, D.C., area are
promoting technology transfer between themselves and private
technology companies in an effort to "positively impact economic
development in the state, region, and nation," said Nariman
Farvardin of the University of Maryland's engineering school.
The Northern Virginia Technology Council hosted a conference
where representatives of several area colleges met to discuss
their goals as tech incubators. Dean Lloyd Griffiths of George
Mason University's engineering school noted that many technology
ventures are initiated by students and faculty while at the
university, thanks to an entrepreneurial spirit that the school
has nurtured. Among the successful ventures of the University of
Maryland's program Farvardin mentioned are NeuralStem, Digene,
and Martek Biosciences.
(Washington Post, 21 September 2001)

Dear Colleagues -

Some readers of these mailings took my recent
<http://www.yale.edu/engineering/eng-info/msg00893.html> as stating
outright opposition to industrially funded research or academic
entrepreneurship. Not so. Rather, my concerns stem from conflicts
of interest and conflicts of commitment between the academic
educational mission and outside interests. And even research
industrially funded under prudent academic guidelines can still
complicate the politics of financial resources within a university
and create tensions that linger as undercurrents rather than
functioning as 'educational opportunities.' 
Active participation in conferences such as the one mentioned above
is apt encouragement for evolving institutional norms. Reconciling
academic mission with private enterprise can not be done with
'theology', but only through active and systematic case-by-case
learning. The universities that do it best have been following that
approach for a long time.


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