Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research
1996 Edition

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Lewis N. Goslin1
Dennis R. Trune2

1Portland State University, Portland, OR 97207-0751
2Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR 97201-3098

1503-725-3760/ 503-725-5850
2503-494-2931/ 503-494-5656

Principal Topics

Medical schools within the United States have traditionally emphasized research more than have non-medical universities. To determine if this has resulted in differences in entrepreneurial success, an analysis was made of entrepreneurship and technology transfer in U.S. universities. Distinctions were made between universities that are a) primarily medical schools, b) primarily technological institutes, c) universities with medical schools, and d) universities without medical schools.


Published information on technology transfer was collected and analyzed for the study. A recent survey conducted by the Association of University Technology Managers served as the primary source of information, limited to 118 reporting universities. Performance measures in these university groups were a) number of technology disclosures, b) patents received, c) number of technology license/options executed, d) royalties received, and e) research dollars. To compensate for university size differences, values were standardized against the number of full time faculty and research dollars.

Major Findings

Universities with medical schools ranked first with regard to total technology activity, followed closely by technological institutes. Following corrections for number of faculty, medical schools rank first, followed by universities with medical schools. Finally, technology transfer relative to research dollars spent places universities without medical schools as the most productive, followed by universities with medical schools and medical schools.


Overall, the most entrepreneurial universities do appear to be those with a research focus on medical technology. However, the other university types also generate a significant number of licensable inventions. This results in millions of dollars in financial returns to these U.S. universities, reinforcing the entrepreneurial emphasis currently made by university administrations.

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