Academic Entrepreneurs

What is an Academic Entrepreneur?

In recent years there has been a major paradigm shift taking place at universities through-out the world. With the need to support economic development, job creation and the growing cost structures, universities are trying to capitalize on commercialization of their biggest asset - academic research. Traditionally, research universities have been focused on basic research, teaching and publications. These activities were used as measures of faculty promotion and success. This continues today but in addition faculty is expected to be active in innovation and value creation using their research as the basis for patents, licenses and spin-outs. The challenge universities are facing is turning research into commercial assets. The individual in the university, who understands the technology, knows the thought leaders and potential partners is the lead researcher. The problem is that the person that is best positioned to commercialize the research assets from a technical perspective has little understanding of markets and their needs and few business skills.

This has led to the development of a new role for the researcher which is critical for the university, the Academic Entrepreneur. These individuals are faculty and students in academic institutions who have the attributes of traditional scientists, including inner drive, rigor, and technical skills. They are scientifically active but can think broadly about the applications of their technology to commercial enterprise. These individuals know that they do not need to sacrifice academic freedom for the opportunity to bring their discoveries to market.

The Academic Entrepreneur is able to take those qualities that make them excel in the academic arena and apply them to other areas. They are creative, have a richness of ideas, the exploratory urge, and network across disciplines. They also possess the attributes of traditional entrepreneurs, such as the ability to recognize business opportunities. But generally they have no business experience. Technologies emerging from their research labs are often very early in development with no clear idea of business requirements or how to get to market. The Academic Entrepreneur may have taken courses but has never applied these learned business skills. They require support programs to help them advance their innovation to the commercial marketplace.

How we can help Academic Entrepreneurs?

Biohealth Management has developed practical and customized programs for entrepreneurs and Academic Entrepreneurs for learning, understanding and participating in the business of innovation, how to take an idea and commercialize it. The team at Biohealth Management has a long history of working with these types of projects and individuals, knows the unique process and requirements of academic ventures and business ventures and has a variety of programs to meet those needs both in their own country and in Boston. We work directly with the entrepreneur and Academic Entrepreneur for the advancement, development and practical applications of science resulting in commercialization. We help to translate the results of their research into new products and into economic development for their communities.