University labs hold great promise for spurring high-impact entrepreneurship
America leads the world in innovation. Great minds are constantly refining ways to produce and deliver existing goods and services, or develop new products and services. Preliminary research shows how integral entrepreneurs are to this process, accounting for many of the breakthrough products and technologies—the airplane, the automobile, computers, and telecommunications—that drive our national prosperity.
University-based research plays an important role in the innovation process. Basic research that leads to fundamental discoveries provides the underpinning of more applied technologies. University researchers are active in both areas of scientific inquiry and, since the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, have been commercializing technologies at an increasing pace.
At the Kauffman Foundation, we worked though a discovery phase, aided by an advisory panel of noted experts in advancing innovation. Our preliminary research suggests that many innovations residing in universities are slow getting to market, and many may never reach the market. In a global economy where researchers around the world are gaining on American universities and companies, we believe more must be done to rapidly and efficiently commercialize innovations developed by university researchers.
As we look to improve this complex task, the Kauffman Foundation will continue to research the reasons why the system is not more productive, explore ways to partner with universities to ensure greater output, and ultimately foster higher levels of innovative entrepreneurship through the commercialization of university-based technologies.