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Re-Thinking the Commercialization of Public Science: From Entrepreneurial Outcomes to Societal Impacts

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Document pages: 34 pages

Abstract: Studies have demonstrated the importance of scientific research for innovation and economic performance at the firm and regional levels, and policymakers have extensively supported the commercialization of public science. However, we still lack theoretical and empirical evidence on the link between the commercialization of public science and broader, societal impacts. Despite a large body of evidence on the determinants of science commercialization, for instance in the literature on academic entrepreneurship, the consequences of such activities remain less explored. In this article, we seek to fill this void by viewing science commercialization as a means rather than as a final outcome. Instead of mapping the direct outcomes of the science-commercialization process, mostly achieved through entrepreneurial activities, science commercialization can be seen as an enabler of broader societal impacts. This article outlines a research agenda on the societal impacts of science commercialization by extending current theories, data, and methods, as well as the need to consider ethical concerns and who is benefiting from these impacts.

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