A Lab-to-Market Ecosystem in an Academic Environment

A Lab-to-Market Ecosystem in an Academic Environment

Craig W. Dye (University of Maryland, USA) and David F. Barbe (University of Maryland, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8487-4.ch006


This chapter will examine the challenges and opportunities confronted in the commercialization of research-based technologies in a university setting. Particular focus will be brought to the identification and creation of a university-based entrepreneurial ecosystem and ways of sustaining it. To provide more detailed context, the authors will cite specific programs and outcomes from these programs, resources and strategies currently utilized and embodied by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, Mtech, at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). Particular challenges and obstacles will be discussed including intellectual property issues, conflicts of commitment, and conflicts of interest. Finally, as a way of assisting others in creating a university-based entrepreneurial ecosystem, guidance will be given as to the resources necessary to create and sustain it.
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When considering the contribution of universities to the formation of highly successful entrepreneurial environments in the USA, the influence of Stanford University on the development of Silicon Valley and the influence of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on the Boston area are paramount, and these are the models to be emulated.

Before the end of WWII, a relatively small number of technology startup companies evolved from or were associated with universities. After WWII, scientists and engineers whose work had been devoted to the war effort, were free to begin entrepreneurial endeavors if they were so inclined. Because a significant amount of the war effort took place in the Boston area around Harvard University and the MIT, startup companies sprouted up there, and the roots of many of these companies can be traced to scientists and engineers who worked on the war effort associated with universities in the Boston area. Two of the most influential individuals responsible for the Boston area becoming a hotbed for tech company formation were MIT professor Vannevar Bush who engineered the first manually mechanically operated analog computer, and Harvard Business School professor Georges Doriot who began the nation’s first venture capital firm, American Research and Development in 1946.

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