Assessing The Economic Value Relationship Between Academia And Industry
Introduction: Previous literature indicates that standard economic analysis is often not well suited for the evaluation of research investments, necessitating the use of other methods. This work uses a mixed methods approach to investigate the economic value relationship between academia and industry, towards a holistic understanding of how research benefits arise and can be measured to provide greater insight into the drivers of the system, its sustainability, and economic competitiveness. Methods: Each of the pillars of the National Innovation System (NIS) model, adapted to assess the economic value relationship between academia and industry, were evaluated. The first research element (government) focused on the macroeconomic and regulatory context by evaluating the federal SBIR/STTR programs through an in-depth case study. The second element focused on the education and training system (academia) by assessing how technology transfer offices at universities measure research value. The final element of the study (industry) focused on communication infrastructures by investigating the digital tools used by medical technology firms to accelerate innovation beyond organizational boundaries. The academia and industry research elements each consisted of document review and semi-structured interviews. Results: While the federal SBIR/STTR programs were found to be a significant catalyst for the academic-industry economic value relationship, especially at the most crucial proof-of-concept stage, policy discrepancies between stakeholders might affect the desired program outcomes. Consensus measures and metrics were identified for both academia and industry, which inform the product and factor market conditions that drive academic-industry innovation capacity. In many cases, challenges behind these measures were also raised, highlighting the need for sensitivity to institutional mission, culture and other conditions when applying these measures. Valuation differences were also found to exist between public and private universities in entrepreneurial engagement and economic development. Conclusions: The measurement categories across both academia and industry describe adequate, dependable resources as the overarching product market theme and a talented and interconnected workforce as the overarching factor market theme. Taken together, they lead to more effective knowledge generation and diffusion, as well as a more informed NIS model with specific and practical utility for the economic value relationship between academia and industry.