Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research
1996 Edition
SUMMARIES

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RESEARCH CENTERS: LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FOR UNIVERSITY INTRAPRENEURSHIP


(1) Joette M. Wisnieski
(2) Michael J. Dowling

(1) Eberly College of Business
Indiana University of Pa
Indiana, PA 15702

(2) 220 P E Building
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

Telephone
(1)412-357-2535
(2)706-542-3702

Fax
(1)412-357-5743
(2)706-542-3743

Principal Topics

This study includes seven university-industry cooperative research centers. The selected consortia represent different geographic regions and different methods of organizations. Summaries of the interview data were prepared on each center. These summaries describe the following characteristics: advisory board or administrative body; process for recruiting new industry members, financial support, staffing of the center, research agenda and how it was set, technology transfer process, and the question of intellectual property rights.

Method

Data for this study was collected and analyzed in 1993-94 for the Phosphor Technology Center for Excellence (PTCOE) as part of a research grant provided by ARPA. We developed an initial list of university-industry cooperative research centers and then identified seven for further study. The centers included represent different geographic regions and different methods of organizations. All the centers shared a similar goal of high technology research and development and each center included multiple institutions.

Data for the seven cases was drawn from in-depth interview conducted on-site with staff knowledgeable about the administrative aspects of the center. Documents, such as annual reports, newsletters, evaluations, and articles in the press, provided additional data for the case studies.

Centers included in the study were The Center for Cell Research (CCR) and Ben Franklin Technology Center, University Park, PA; Software Engineering Research Center, Gainesville, FA; Microelectronics Center of North Carolina (MCNC) and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), Research Triangle Park, NC; Sematech, and Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC), Austin, TX.

Major Findings

Successful centers had a variety of ways to organize. But, despite their many differences, the study found common elements. This paper includes a number of specific recommendations for universities interested in this form of university-industry interaction. The case studies of these centers were able to document increased resources in the form of cash, equipment and personnel available to the universities participating in these consortia. These resources translated into dollars and equipment for both faculty and doctoral student research.

Implications

Universities are able to gather resources and increase research funding through the founding and participation in research consortia. Universities, by combining resources with industry, through joint research and development projects of the center, are able to both create entrepreneurial opportunities for their faculty, but also assist US industry and allow their growth and allow industry to better compete in today’s global markets.

Centers have been successful in creating new technologies and more importantly, transferring this knowledge to industry in terms of new products and processes. Centers, if planned and implemented correctly, can greatly enhance university's research capabilities.