26 November 2007

Call for papers: Transforming Basic Research in Biomedical Sciences into Commercial Applications: The Role of Universities in Industrialised Countries

Call for papers: Transforming Basic Research in Biomedical Sciences into Commercial Applications: The Role of Universities in Industrialised Countries

A special issue of International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management

Industrialised countries are trying to counter the threat from low-cost manufacturing countries by building on their comparative advantage in high-technology sectors. Industrial policy initiatives in Europe, Japan, and North America attempt to stimulate innovation and productivity, and the health sector is especially prominent in this process in areas including biotech, genetics, microelectronics, and biophysics (see Di Tommaso and Schweitzer, 2005)*.

Among other policies, governments have encouraged universities to participate in the process of commercialisation of basic research, either through patenting inventions (e.g. the Bayh-Dole Act of the United States) or participating directly in spin-off ventures. These spin-offs combine university-based researchers with entrepreneurs and sources of capital. Some of these high-tech industrial clusters have become household words, such as America’s Silicon Valley and Route 128, but the movement is far more diffused than that. Different countries have approached the issue of encouraging commercialisation of biomedical science differently, no doubt in response to different institutions and entrepreneurial climate. Currently there is no unified description of what policies work in particular settings, and which do not. This leaves both government and academic leaders in a quandary as they attempt to construct the best policies for their institutions.

The objective of this Special Issue is to promote a better understanding of the process by which basic research in the health sciences is translated into commercial ventures involving universities. We will illustrate the many factors that must be present in a successful program to encourage commercial development of basic research. These factors include incentives for university researchers, sources of capital, linkages between people with skills in basic research and those with skills in entrepreneurship. To do this, we envision creating a multinational network of scholars working in areas of industrial policy, health sciences research, and university development. We hope to bring together information from Europe, North America (especially the US and Canada), and Asia (especially China and Japan).

* Di Tommaso MR and Schweitzer SO (eds), Health Policy and High-Tech Industrial Development: Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry, Cheltenham England: Edward Elgar Publishers, 2005

Suitable topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Incentives and climate toward commercialisation in universities
  • Types of industry/university collaboration
  • Government and university policies toward spin-off ventures
  • Capital formation
  • Direct foreign investment
  • Venture capital
  • Government support
  • Private capital
  • Government policies toward high-tech clusters - the role of industrial policy
  • Important success stories - and lessons to be learned
  • Useful stories of failures - and lessons to be learned
  • Choosing the right industrial policy for the scientific and political setting
Important Date
Submission deadline: 1 October, 2008

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