Articles

University-industry research relationships in biotechnology: implications for the university

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Science  13 Jun 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4756, pp. 1361-1366
DOI: 10.1126/science.3715452

Abstract

The growth of university-industry research relationships in biotechnology has raised questions concerning their effects, both positive and negative, on universities. A survey of over 1200 faculty members at 40 major universities in the United States reveals that biotechnology researchers with industrial support publish at higher rates, patent more frequently, participate in more administrative and professional activities and earn more than colleagues without such support. At the same time, faculty with industry funds are much more likely than other biotechnology faculty to report that their research has resulted in trade secrets and that commercial considerations have influenced their choice of research projects. Although the data do not establish a causal connection between industrial support and these faculty behaviors, our findings strongly suggest that university-industry research relationships have both benefits and risks for academic institutions. The challenge for universities is to find ways to manage these relationships that will preserve the benefits while minimizing the risks.

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