Academic Entrepreneur

What is an academic entrepreneur?

In recent years there has been a major paradigm shift taking place at universities throughout the world. With the need to support economic development and job creation and with 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.

This shift in expectations 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 enterprises. 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 can 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 the research labs of academic entrepreneurs are often very early in development, and they may have no clear idea of business requirements or how to get to market. Academic entrepreneurs may have taken business courses but have never applied these learned business skills. They require support programs to help them advance their innovations to the commercial marketplace.

How we can help academic entrepreneurs?

Boston Landing 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 Boston Landing has a long history of working with these types of projects and individuals, knows the unique process and requirements of academic ventures and has developed very successful programs to meet the needs of commercializing academic work. Boston Landing works directly with academic entrepreneurs for the advancement, development and practical applications of science resulting in commercialization, translating the results of their research into new products and into economic development for their communities.