Breaking the Ivory Tower: Academic entrepreneurship in the life sciences in UK and Germany

Carolin Haeussler*, Jeannette A. Colyvas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


We examine engagement in commercial activities (consulting, patenting, and founding) among more than 2200 German and UK life scientists. We test hypotheses that include attributes of individuals, their material and social resources, and perceptions about values and reputation. We find that characteristics reflecting professional security, advantage and productivity are strong predictors for a greater breadth of participation in academic entrepreneurship, but not for all forms of technology transfer that we are able to test. For such academics, science and commerce go hand in hand, as they are best poised to straddle the boundary between industry and academy. We find strong support, however, that scientists perceive the value of patenting differently, and the level of reputational importance placed on scientific compared to commercial achievements matters in shaping commercial involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-54
Number of pages14
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Academic entrepreneurship
  • Consulting
  • Founding
  • Life sciences
  • Patenting
  • Technology transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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