We study how becoming an entrepreneur affects academic scientists' research. We propose that entrepreneurship will shift scientists' attention away from intradisciplinary research questions and toward new bodies of knowledge relevant for downstream technology development. This will propel scientists to engage in exploration, meaning they work on topics new to them. In turn, this shift toward exploration will enhance the impact of the entrepreneurial scientist's subsequent research, as concepts and models from other bodies of knowledge are combined in novel ways. Entrepreneurship leads to more impactful research, mediated by exploration. Using panel data on the full population of scientists at a large research university, we find support for this argument. Our study is novel in that it identifies a shift of attention as the mechanism underpinning the beneficial spillover effects from founding a venture on the production of public science. A key implication of our study is that commercial work by academics can drive fundamental advances in science.

Attention to Exploration: The Effect of Academic Entrepreneurship on the Production of Scientific Knowledge

Fini R.;Perkmann M.;
2022

Abstract

We study how becoming an entrepreneur affects academic scientists' research. We propose that entrepreneurship will shift scientists' attention away from intradisciplinary research questions and toward new bodies of knowledge relevant for downstream technology development. This will propel scientists to engage in exploration, meaning they work on topics new to them. In turn, this shift toward exploration will enhance the impact of the entrepreneurial scientist's subsequent research, as concepts and models from other bodies of knowledge are combined in novel ways. Entrepreneurship leads to more impactful research, mediated by exploration. Using panel data on the full population of scientists at a large research university, we find support for this argument. Our study is novel in that it identifies a shift of attention as the mechanism underpinning the beneficial spillover effects from founding a venture on the production of public science. A key implication of our study is that commercial work by academics can drive fundamental advances in science.
2022
Fini R.; Perkmann M.; Ross J.-M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/897383
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