21st Century Academic Research Enterprises:
Linking Know-What to National Grand Challenges
            and Regional Econom...
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                                   June 2008
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                            June 2008

21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                           June 2008

21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                                             ...
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                          June 2008

All th...
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                          June 2008

21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                        June 2008

to an ou...
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                                  June 2008

21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                          June 2008

21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                           June 2008

21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                                             ...
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                          June 2008

The En...
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                            June 2008

We h...
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                           June 2008

21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                            June 2008

21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                                             ...
21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4                                           June 2008

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21st Century Academic Enterprises & Innovation


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21st Century Academic Enterprises & Innovation

  1. 1. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises: Linking Know-What to National Grand Challenges and Regional Economies Briefing Paper 5 New Economy Strategies LLC 1250 24th Street, N.W. Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20037 (202) 466-0566 info@new-econ.com
  2. 2. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises and Campuses: Linking Know-What with National Grand Challenges and Regional Economies Executive Introduction In the previous white papers prepared by New Economy Strategies, we have sought to raise questions and challenge the traditional perspectives on cluster formation, economic development, and the role of intermediary organizations in support of regional transformation. This has not been done out of arrogance – that our approach and tactics are superior to other approaches; rather, based on deep engagement with economic development including over 25,000 survey responses, 5000 interviews and 350 regional forums and small group discussions. NES has ascertained that a transition is occurring around our clients and communities that cannot be overlooked during this period of increased globalization, economic insecurity, and innovation capacity building: the increased demand for universities and other academic institutions, to play a stronger role in commercialization and economic development. Only within the past three years has our work with the academic research community begun to suggest that a real and, frankly escalating, debate is underway about the importance, role, and future of the research enterprise and the relationship with firms and institutions outside of academia, the community ‘beyond the fence.” We first sensed this debate back in 1996, when NES hosted a National Roundtable on the Future of the Federal Laboratory System and Economic Development at the Smithsonian Institute and lead by the likes of Robert Galvin (Motorola), Dr. George Kozmetsky (University of Texas and Co-Founder of Teledyne), Erich Bloch (former Director of the National Academies of Science), and Dick Thornburgh (former Governor of Pennsylvania and Co-Founder of the State Science and Technology Institute). These four distinguished leaders joined with 35 other national and regional representatives including two U.S. Senators and two U.S Congressmen, determined that the role and mission of the research and development under the federal laboratory system was not meeting the needs of economic competitiveness unless and until new practices in industry and regional engagement were designed and measured. Since 1996, discussions about continued investment in research conducted by the federal laboratories – affiliated primarily with the Departments of Defense and Energy as well as the National Institutes of Health – have expanded to now reflect upon public and private higher education. We noticed that in 2000-2001, many state legislatures began to examine how best to get maximum benefit from state dollars invested in higher education institutions. The evolution in the discussion it would appear began around the issues of technology transfer and commercialization – or the lack thereof in many campus examples – based on the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and its annual survey of disclosures of potential intellectual property, patents, and licensing income. However, the examination did not stop just at the numbers, but more importantly and critically has expanded to include the roles, missions, and relationships of campus activities among students, faculty, and ‘engagement’ initiatives in the immediate community surrounding the campus. During a national teleconference call with 28 university representatives in 2007, the following response from a Vice President for Commericalization and Economic Development capture sentiments among the participants: “….we have not really found a perfect model that defines the roles of the community, legislature, state agencies and industry executives as good partners to incentivize us to create the collaborative centers and the sponsored research as an example ROI measure. We usually never sit in an integrated strategic setting to discuss how all our common interests align and what is needed to incent the new types of partnerships….” Most engaged observers might conclude that the watershed event in the commercialization of intellectual property was the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980 and its subsequent impact on managing the ownership, rights, and economic benefit to the principal investigator. , as well as the other attributes of a rational 1
  3. 3. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 approach for meeting the goals and obligations of federal research activities. While Bayh-Dole was transformative, and has had a significant impact on raising the issue and the prominence of technology transfer, it was one of many other actions required to change the mindset and values at the administrative levels of most academic research enterprises and among regional stakeholders with a technology transfer interest. All the while, the national debate on U.S. competitiveness through innovation, entrepreneurship, and the importance of basic and translational research has hit its stride through the work of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the Brookings Institution, the National Academies of Science and host of other organizations and entities focusing attention on the current state of affairs in education, workforce, commercialization, and unique partnerships required to meet globalization challenges. As the late Dr. George Kozmetsky once reflected: “ the days of the university throwing students and ideas over the fence and crossing fingers in hopes that somebody will catch these and lead to new opportunities for their communities is simply no longer effective….” In his work around the Austin, Texas “Technopolis” model in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kozmetsky realized that the academic research enterprise could and should be a ‘hot-house’ for linking students, faculty, ideas and the potential for far greater societal and economic benefit. In San Diego, the University of California San Diego came to a similar realization – though from a quite different perspective of a declining defense-based economy. UC San Diego’s efforts to revive the regional economy sparked the creation of CONNECT and its model of engagement among university, industry and investor communities. Both models benchmarked prior activities in Pennsylvania (the Ben Franklin centers), Ohio (the Edison program), and Kansas (the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation) - only to learn that such entities were not built into the mindset and the operating agenda of the campus but rather sat outside the fence-line. The Philadelphia Science Center concept in the early 1980s appeared to be another model focused on the issue of internal and external campus partnerships by forming an unique “ownership” structure among University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, Temple and other institutions seeking to leverage each other’s knowledge and competencies in the research enterprise. For a time, the Science Center created a common, shared platform – both physical and relationship-wise – on which to collaborate scientists, faculty, students, and the emerging regional technology interests. Over the past 20 years, the Science Center has expanded its reach into neighboring Delaware and New Jersey, thereby broadening the number of institutions that are ‘shareholders.’ These examples and others discussed further in this briefing have been used as best practices in what is commonly referred to as “engagement by the academic enterprise” – the words that often describe the extension or expansion of the university’s reach beyond the classroom, laboratory and faculty hall. Clearly both 2
  4. 4. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 times have changed and, more importantly, demands have changed for different types of governance structures and organizational arrangements – not just on the campus but as recognized by the plethora of business management books and executive biographies describing the need for new structures, new relationships, new value chains. The focus on customer service, collaborations with competitors (coopetition), and now the themes of open-source innovation all indicate that “engagement” has been under scrutiny at the highest and broadest levels of American industry, public sector and entrepreneurial arenas. Therefore, the process of repositioning the academic research enterprise should come as no surprise – it is even more logical when one observes that campus business, organizational, computational offerings are aligned with networking of the economy versus the old ‘mainframe’ information flow and operational models. Why then has the role of the academic research enterprise been so hard a path for evolutionary growth or even simply sustaining its own relevance in both the national stage of grand challenges as well as regional economies? We believe that unless American academic research enterprises evolve to the same level if not exceed expectations for a new “engagement” model, then the current episodic solutions will become the norm and the relevance of the existing university discovery, development, and delivery of knowledge will no longer be accepted by its investors (taxpayers, alumni, corporate and philanthropic giving, industry partners, etc.). As we shared in our first briefing on the transition from Clusters of Industry to Clusters of Knowledge: “…by focusing on Knowledge and Competencies, a region fosters more pathways for the entire range of its demographic populations, educational attainment, and ultimately aspirations. By identifying unrealized and undervalued roles for economic opportunity vis-a-vis becoming a part of a team of expertise – high school, community and technical colleges, four year and advanced research university graduates, industry trained individuals – all serving together around the regional ‘table’ seeking to build several scenarios for stretching the competency strengths across a handful of targets for growth. Therefore, our understanding of the knowledge-competency approach indicates that workforce and skills development agencies, programs and initiatives must coordinate among a collaborative, team-like packaging of people rather than the traditional person-by-person offerings of the past. If we as a nation are to compete globally, then the current infrastructure, systems, and institutions for the development and delivery of human capital can no longer ignore a certain reality: knowledge-competency regional models demand immediate attention…” 3
  5. 5. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 Underpinnings of Regional Competitive Knowledge Models KNOW-WHAT: Tacit existing and emerging formal KNOW education, understanding, and KNOW WHAT experiential learning WHOM KNOW-WHOM: Networks of relationships in and beyond the KNOW region; sometimes informal quick- HOW paced arrangements, sometimes KNOW-HOW: Application of tacit knowledge formal partnerships of distinct that combines existing approaches AND capabilities and teams of know most importantly new innovations to address what and how combined emerging challenges, solutions, and markets Innovation Intermediaries: - Link competencies, weave capabilities - Conduct scenario selection and risk assessment - Align threads of target economic opportunities - Strengthen, hasten collaborations - Build towards critical mass of people, expertise, resources, market builders - Gauge absorption of demand by regional eco-system - Create and promote performance metrics, connectivity, and results Source: New Economy Strategies, LLC At the minimum, academic research enterprises are valuable partners in regional economies by preparing and delivering upon its highest priority – the student capacities to transfer knowledge to the betterment of society, the economy, and standards of living (or what we propose is the Know-What and the Know-How of a regional underpinning). In the aggregate, academic institutions located in proximate jurisdictions make up a significant part of the economic scenario – through procurement, student and faculty expenditures, and a bountiful set of impacts in real estate, construction, maintenance, and operations of the facilities and equipment necessary to deliver upon that promise. While the cluster concept itself can be heavily debated as to its relevance in the 21st century global economy, one thing for sure about the academic research enterprise: it is land-locked and has no expectation to uproot itself to relocate in another state or country. Though as has been noted, academic institutions are expanding operations and partnerships abroad, generally the basis on which the research enterprise ‘works’ is localized and proximate to regional economies. The analysis of the Greater Boston academic economic impact conducted in the past few years has proven to many communities that the investment of and by the research enterprise is quite valuable when it comes to purchasing power and construction related expenditures along with the multiplier effect of students, faculty, and fellows on housing and personal expenditures. The studies conducted by Mary Walshok at the University of California San Diego, David Lubin (“The Impact of Colleges and Universities on Urban Economic and Cultural Development” delivered at the American Sociological Association August 2007) as well as the significant and on-going analysis by Marie and John Thursby at Georgia Tech suggests that we can no longer view academia as solely the evolution of a school house but must demand a relook at the overall impact and importance to economic stability and continuity in times of tough markets and financial times. 4
  6. 6. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 All the while, globalization continues to expand proportionately the reaches of markets, opportunities, and knowledge. The lack of boundaries, frictionless transactions, and the flowering of open-source innovation have only increased the likelihood that knowledge will flow to wherever it is most valued and recognized. At the same time, as the world has become the stage for entrepreneurs and innovators, pressures on the Nation have only increased. We remain a nation in these early years of the 21st century plagued by issues such as energy, health, water, poverty and other grand challenges that will limit the expectations for successive generations to increase their lot. These Grand Challenges are no different than those that confronted this nation in the past, and yet the fragmentation and negative competitiveness upon political and public sector responses demands neutral ‘tables’ at which to discover and deploy the best-in-practice solutions. We as a people require no less than similar conditions and environments for collaboration at the highest level among the top minds in science, technology, human and social behavior, information and data analysis, and industrial and translational research. What better location to sort these solutions that at and among institutions and organizations that will not leave nor relocate at the hint of a drop in market-share. 5
  7. 7. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 Defining Academic Engagement in the Global Knowledge Economy Multiple indicators of a nation at risk point to a common theme: the necessity to maintain our competitive edge in brain-power and the ability to exploit our centers of knowledge creation – especially adjacent to the academic research campus. Report after report detail that we are not producing enough students with math and science interests nor scores to keep pace with global competitors such as India and the Asian Tigers. We allude to STEM education (science-technology-engineering-math) as the predicate for maintaining the necessary requisite skills to meet the evolution of brains over brawn. And further, all kinds of forums and conferences are held to prioritize resources and policies for connecting entrepreneurship, innovation, and competitiveness. And in each and every word, event, presentation, and keynote speech, the relationship with and partnership among academic institutions inevitably arises as a critical recommendation needing immediate attention. Governors produce cluster reports examining their assets and targets of opportunity, again defining the implications for unique regional competitiveness by focusing greater attention on technology commercialization and increased collaboration among academia and industry. From the Council on Competitiveness to the Kauffman Foundation, from the National Academies of Science to the National Science Foundation, the focus of all solutions seems to be rooted in the academic research enterprise and its vitality as an economic development engine. And yet, in well over 60+ projects that have directly or indirectly involved academic institution leadership and faculty, the importance of economic development as a ‘top-three’ priority has been found in few institutions. In reviewing over 50 different academic institution websites, the words “economic development”, “innovation economy”, or “workforce and economic strategies” do not appear anywhere in the overarching goals or mission of the academic enterprise. However, in Chancellor, President, and in some cases Provost, commentaries or “welcome pages” these phrases are weaved into the direction for a 21st competitive environment. In further examination, speeches and powerpoint presentations posted on these websites, the same leadership promote the importance of institutional partnerships with regional and community interests and stakeholders. These presentations, often to alumni groups, legislative committees, gubernatorial initiatives and national conferences indicate that the ties between and among academic institutions and innovation are necessary for students and faculty alike. So why then, if the Knowledge Economy is and will remain a differentiating force in American competitiveness well into the 21st century, if every significant report on American innovation encourages such partnerships and collaborations, and if global challenges require stronger linkages to the research enterprise – why then are words and actions still far apart? Is the distance between statement and goal wider than expectations or are perspectives of the distance real? NES, in our hosted roundtables, forums, and facilitated conferences calls on this subject continues to find that “words matter” and therefore part of the distance between statement, goal, expectation, and perspective is simply that ‘economic development’ and ‘engagement’ are intertwined but conducted from platforms or systems that are quite unique. We assumed for too long that the word “public” in front of public higher education and publicly-funded economic development would cause some stronger linkages. We assumed for too long that students, faculty, the physical manifestation of academia, and the work done in the classroom as well as the laboratory all were for the benefit of an economic outcome, and therefore the economic development community was an extension or an obvious follow-on to the educational model. These assumptions were shared by a broad set of stakeholders – all of whom ‘naturally see the connections….the relative inputs and outputs from the academic research enterprise value chains.’ However this is far from the truth in a majority of the cases and examples throughout the United States. We fear that of late the presumptions made by many in the economic-innovation-competitiveness arena has turned 6
  8. 8. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 to an outright attack or harsh criticism of the very individuals that see the word “engagement” as a more effective, powerful context by which the academic community can evolve into the best partnerships and collaborations. Therefore, New Economy Strategies suggests that raising and sustaining the importance of Academic Research Enterprise Engagement should be the only basis by which there can be an acceleration of the transition and transformation on and around the campus setting. In their critical work on the topic of academic ‘engagement’, Lou Tornatzky and Paul Waugaman wrote for the Southern Growth Policies Board/Southern Technology Council in Innovation U: New University Roles in a Knowledge Economy (March 2002) that there are ten distinguishable features of the economic activities on and around the campus setting – and we believe these still have relevancy: Industry research partnerships Technology transfer Industrial extension and technical assistance Entrepreneurial development Education and training partnerships Career services and placement Formal partnerships with regional and state economic development organizations Faculty culture and rewards Leadership structures, policies, and institutionalization Let us refer not to our own description but to myriad examples of Academic Engagement – and therefore its implementation in the field so that a set of case studies can underpin the discussion around this White Paper and the reader’s consideration of the current and future setting. For example here is York University’s Canadian perspective: 7
  9. 9. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 Responding to Globalization, Competitiveness and Innovation: A New Engagement Model Academic research institutions and enterprises seek Reality Checks: Why Globalization Matters engagement for myriad reasons and benefits including the simple realities of economics, driven at least in part by declining federal and state resources relative to required investments to remain globally competitive. Therefore many institutions must find alternative sources of financial and investment partnerships – new relationships with China, India, the Gulf and other locations around course and program delivery, industrial and translational research initiatives, facilities and infrastructure agreements with multiple interests and consortia. Other institutions are raising significant pools of investment and philanthropic dollars from alumni and corporate interests – by some Our View Their View accounts there are currently 5-9 fundraising campaigns underway exceeding $1 billion or more. These huge efforts to garner enough resources to permanently shift asset accumulate AND to limit the need to constantly fundraise so as to focus attention on exploiting those newly acquired assets indicates to NES that less reliance upon public dollars will critically impact missions and operations. If less than a third of the resources to operate and maintain a public academic research enterprise are derived from public dollars, then such a minority share of investment appears to be quietly encouraging institutional leadership to question the importance of this share and its ‘majority’ stance on key and critical missions. Simply put: those dollars generated from other sources should and will have a greater voice in future direction and initiatives! In addition to these resource issues, trends in corporate research and development, including the reduction in overall expenditures per employee or as an aggregate of revenue ratios, the emergence of tighter bonds between industry, technology sectors, and open-source innovation lead NES to believe that the academic research enterprise must reexamine its mission relative to applied and translational research and development. By example, this concept of open-source innovation suggest that Corporate America no longer fully believes that all the smarts, capabilities, and knowledge exist on its own payroll and within its own walls. Eli Lilly, Proctor and Gamble, and other global entities have created unique approaches to sharing their large unmet needs for constant innovation flows and the insatiable desire to remain competitive by means of tools and procedures for proposals, bids, unsolicited concept papers, and certain intellectual property management techniques that expand horizons and competencies beyond current employees and vendors. Such beliefs are encouraging to the academic research campus if it can make the case for why sources of knowledge and know-how are competitive enough with other options for future open-source efforts. Simultaneously, corporate, individual and entrepreneurial philanthropy has emerged as a powerful driver of innovation and research. From the Mann Foundation to the Gates Foundation, from disease based associations to small-bands of angel philanthropy, academic research is finding newer, larger and more demanding sources for co-investment and co-discovery. The days are over where foundations accepted grant requests from campuses and the receipients do not realize that the “strings that come attached” are more definitive around translational, entrepreneurial, and commercial outcomes. The billions of dollars being spread around academia by non-profit groups has – we believe – become THE SINGLE MOTIVATION for transformation and transition of the campus mindset. Often headed by entrepreneurial and innovative business success stories, these new funding sources are more 8
  10. 10. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 inclined to develop long-range plans, models, and performance metrics in exchange for very robust sums of money. These foundation-based CEOs and leaders are looking no less for significant progress than real transformation in the discovery of solutions to medical, societal, climate, and economic inclusive challenges facing the nation and in most cases globally. From the physical manifestations of Alfred Mann and Jim Stowers in cutting-edge research and discovery facilities adjacent to academic settings in locations as varied as Bloomington Indiana and Kansas City, NES has seen the quite powerful ripple effect these targeted resources have on the construct and operations of the campus, faculty, students and larger community. We have also seen the squandered efforts of the FedEx Institute in Memphis and Stanford’s challenge of creating a new interdisciplinary center around biotech-engineering-business, where it would appear that the academic and civic leadership worked at cross purposes or worse minimized the influence on a vital engagement investment. Why do some institutions “get it” while others fail or at the minimum do not form a stronger commitment to the regional engagement opportunities around them? What have been the conditions for success or the pathway to failure that can be examined? And what are the best principles that can be taken away from a review of the case studies around us? These questions have served as the agenda for many years’ worth of conferences, summits, and roundtables – and these events will continue onwards until and unless – what? We reach enough critical mass of academic research enterprises and regions to pull the nation forward – is that the goal? Are we looking for enough critical mass of discoveries to shift the future economic engine around another generation of Fortune 500 companies, jobs with high wage and value to ensure the engine continues to churn, that wealth and personal income levels maintain or exceed previous generations? All these of course are metrics and goals of any exercise to strengthen engagement models but have been used to measure a horse-race not a marathon, to judge performance not relationships and connectivity. And yet, looking back over the past decade or two, the amount of funds, resources and energies committed towards achieving successive rounds of churn and growth have produced not just big results (increase in patent incomes and licensing fees derived from intellectual property) but have created small links in an ever-evolving chain of innovations. In turn, the digital tools that have emerged to connect knowledge “links” - faster and often more effectively than at any previous time in history – have sparked a research infrastructure without walls. There are no limits to human discovery as has often been stated in several prologues and opening statements. But in surveys and interviews conducted with nearly 25,000 regional participants in our work across the U.S. and abroad, the same themes of the difficulties and barriers to working through the academic fence-lines continue to be in the top three of responses to our queries. Therefore, we have concluded that the porridge-test (Goldilocks’ examination of the too hot-too cold-just right analysis) will continue indefinitely and now requires closure. The dialogue requires both deeper and frankly harder agenda elements as well as recognition of urgent implications to the grand challenges facing our nation, economy, and society. In the past we Americans - though waiting until the eleventh hour - have responded with famous strength – the Truman-Marshall Plan to rebuild post World War II Western Europe, the Eisenhower national highway system, the Kennedy moonshot, the Reagan-Bush-Clinton commitment to map the human genome. These are ‘big ideas’ that sparked a nation’s imagination AND the involvement of academic research institutions in no small way. Yet we no longer exist in a time where bi-partisan cooperation between White Houses and Congress could reach accord on stipulating billions of resources to multi-campus-industry-entrepreneurial-innovative teams of the best minds. We parse our resources here and there in pilot projects and initiatives – some producing important and vital results, more producing marginal outcomes all-the-while a handful of entrepreneurial spirits spontaneously develop and capitalize without government dollars. In a future book, NES will describe what we refer to as “Innovation Inspite of…..” the circumstances that spontaneity, serendipity, and unfettered thinking produce in corners of the spaces that are found on, off, around and beyond the academic research enterprise. Inspite of rules, regulations, mindsets, policies, resources, and any number of barriers, innovation has occurred – and thank the gods that those individuals and teams did so and will continue to do their work. But their efforts have not remained quiet nor hidden for long, and now are legends of stories, 9
  11. 11. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 examples, and benchmarks that are suppose to drive a plethora of copy-cats. Just at the point for which our nation requires grand solutions, a mixture of rules, regulations, mindsets and fears have culminated into a vast quicksand to separate the best minds within the campus laboratory and classroom from the best minds in industry facilities, entrepreneurs in lofts, and innovators that operate digitally and virtually. Lists upon list have been created of this federal law, that state statute that directly or indirectly impact the operating procedures or more critically the interpretation of intent. The overshadowing of expectations and desired results with continuous focus on distrust, conflicts of interests, and misappropriations has begun to not just mitigate risk but to stifle the opportunity to both succeed and fail in ways that innovation requires. However, innovation, entrepreneurship, and practical economics will always find ways to get a result. Always; including changing geographies, dropping participants that are a drag on progress, re-inventing the operating model to sustain constant growth. The real analogy for innovation models are viral in nature when executed either in large settings or quiet corners; these efforts will find environments that are hospitable including wholesale leaps to a new setting if required. Therefore, NES believes that the 21st Century Academic Enterprise Engagement Model must begin on fertile ground that has limited rules based on the innovator’s mindset – that the transaction is the end-point, that the process is the ‘fun energy’ that sustains teams through the natural ups and downs of discovery and growth, and that multiple types of return-on- investment are acceptable and even encouraged. We need no longer debate the strategies or design the parameters for the processes that come with resource allocations and budget management – there are hundreds of papers and conference notes that can be accumulated into the briefing for policy- and rule-makers. We have the examples, benchmarks, best practices, principles, success ratios, risk-mitigation analysis and whatever is necessary to create a 21st Century Academic Enterprise Engagement Model for a nation at risk, facing grand challenges, and simply requiring solutions to ensure successive generations are at or exceed current levels of personal achievement. Global competition, competitiveness and innovation are becoming overused concepts that title too many papers, forums, and public sector hearings. The statistics are in every presentation from the Brookings Institute, the Progressive Policy Institute, the Council on Competitiveness among other entities that have been on the frontlines of the discussion. We know the following ad nausea: Since 2000-2001, the number of foreign-born students staying in the US is declining due to HB-1 visa issues, growing economies back home, and the reduction in resources on and around the American campus; Since the mid-1990s, U.S. student scores and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and math have greatly declined towards the lowest levels among industrialized nations; Basic versus applied versus translational research investments by federal and industry sources in the U.S. have declined compared to new investments by U.S. firms in other countries as well as increases by those countries in themselves; Concentration of biotechnology and nanotechnology activities is concentrated in only a handful of locations in the U.S. – and among those locations, few networks or integration occur as contrasted to the viable networks in Europe and Asia; The number of American high school dropouts is increasing not just among the inner city youth but at an astounding rate among all demographic populations; Lawsuits, legal entanglement, patent protests, and other procedural actions are stifling the intellectual property results in the U.S., all the while the U.S. Patent and Trade Office is approximately 600,000 reviews behind in advancing filings to the marketplace. The reality is that the nation seen as the most innovative and driven to entrepreneurship is facing a number of negative marks towards its continuation as a leader in global commercialization and results. As the number of foreign filings for patents in the U.S. reached parity with American borne residents in the late 1990s and early 10
  12. 12. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 2000s, new systems emerged in Europe and Asia to compete for intellectual property and commercialization. In turn, national/country funds have been formed to match early stage and seed dollars that were once the province of an American enterprise concept. We as a people desired global access and reach – and we are either benefiting from it or are on the negative side of a new competition based on perspective and institutional dynamic. The stability of the environment that America and its research enterprises could ‘control’ or in some way manage is now facing better financed, focused, and familial (collaborative) competitors at the very point in our history when information, the internet, and boundary-crossing tools are lessening the importance of political and economic jurisdictions. Nothing is as it once was! Therefore, we need to reexamine the asset base AND the social networks, the relationships, and the interactions among and within institutions, organizations, firms and public sector entities that will drive the future of U.S. regional competitiveness through a renewed university, college engagement. Any number of the metrics found in the diagram below suggest myriad academic roles. Measuring Regional Capacity to Innovate sample of best practices, knowledge for policy-making & resource allocation Formation • input/output transaction levels • commercialization rates from research Conception expenditures • strength/level ties between regional • high levels of R&D Expenditures academic institutions and regional firms • population with college/adv degrees • new firm births, per 1000 employed • balance of basic and applied research • average annual change in firm births over 5 • growth rate of research annually years, firms formed that stay in region • growth of annual patent rates • annual increases in patent and licensing • growth in S&E under-/grad-/doctoral degrees revenues • math and science scores 9-12 grades • source of firm births resulting from • S&E articles sourced and applied from startups, spinouts, univ licensing, business regional institutions spinoff, franchise, employee acquisition • annual increases in Phd/Post Bacc in Intellectual Capital • number of entrepreneurial courses, specialized target sector subject matter programs/mentorships offered Infrastructure Financial Capital Human Capital Social Capital Growth Proximity • number of firms in tech sectors vs. traditional Maturity • % employees in tech sectors vs. traditional • traded industries in competitive global sectors • changes in engineering jobs and focus over 5 yrs • deep source of knowledge in new product • % of sales from innovated products and services development • % technology acquisition sourced from: R&D • % of workforce in scientific/high tech professions purchases, university consultancies, investment in • broadband penetration by household, by small and another firm, purchase of specialized equipment medium size firms • % of firm births converted annually to gazelle growth, • access to global markets vis-à-vis sophisticated over 5 years tranport infrastructure • % of a competitive advantage industry sector through • average wage growth from exports, new product academic collaboration, product design, specialized development expertise, creativity and marketing • average annual productivity growth • pace of technological deployment among industry • purchasing behavior for new manufacturing and and regional SMEs specialized equipment • average employment growth linked to tech sector • continuous cycle of improvement vis-à-vis access firms over 5-7 years vs. traditional industries to tech transfer/commercialization • # of firms advancing total revenues from $10-30mm to $75-100mm Source: RAND, US Council on Competitiveness, Brookings Institute, Progressive Policy Institute, Cambridge-MIT Institute, American Electronics Assoc., BLS, Economy.com, New Economy Strategies 11
  13. 13. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 The Engagement Model for an American Academic Transformation: Get It or Get On With It! Harsh as it may seem, the reality is now at our doorstep: the grand challenges that we have debated are coming to fruition and will reach a crisis state costing our nation its treasury, pride, and future. And the American academic community is square in the middle of the challenge and potential solution – from its medical and hospital systems to its research parks that attract industry and governmental resources. The centers of excellence created over the past twenty years are reaching their prime. The importance of interdisciplinary work and linkages across the campus have become a mainstay of departmental, provost and the ‘CEO suite’ comprised of the chancellor or president and boards of trustees or regents. Many of the bricks are in place, the equipment and specialized facilities are abundant, and existing base of students, graduates, post-doctorates and fellows are in hand. We recognize all the so-called pipeline issues and do not make light of them in our assessment nor in the crafting of this white paper: the lack of achievement in STEM courses, the number of foreign graduates not staying in nor returning to the U.S., the crumbling campus facilities, and the declining state resources or share of fees and tuition. But as innovators and entrepreneurs have taught us in our work, these have become “excuses” and those individuals that cannot “hunker down and beat the crap out of resources and tools around them to get where you wanted to go in the first place are just whiners of the worse kind...” Directly or indirectly innovators and entrepreneurs are conditioned on targeting resources, burn-rates, and milestones that are pressed upon them by their investors, markets, competitors, and pure drive to make a difference. Again in our surveys and interviews, the drive to make a difference on the academic research enterprise campus is perceived – right or wrong –to have been marginalized. Yes, there is evidence to the contrary on any number of campuses – but these are sporadic, episodic and again in spite-of examples. Overall, and based upon any number of metrics, the academic enterprise as a whole is under-achieving at a time in our history when it needs to be at full-tilt. And even those metrics that are often cited are the wrong elements on which to drive the difference. In our involvement with the Association of University Technology Managers – as an attendee, podium speaker, panelist, and host of a national roundtable – it has become clear that using disclosures, patents, and licensing income as a set of indicators for progress IS INEFFECTIVE. In our projects with or among the academic campuses in over 35 U.S. regions, an academic inventory survey has used the following elements to not only measure current activities but to spark discussion and action. • Number of faculty serving as technical advisors and scientific members of regional startups versus non- regional enterprises; • Number of patents, intellectual property, ideas that generate localized solutions, enterprises, and/or products versus non-localized; • Federal, state, local, non-government and philanthropic dollars invested in specific areas of science, technology research and discovery – down to the dollar, intent, and output; • Internships, part- and full-time employment by students – undergraduate, graduate and post-doc – taken in the region versus beyond the region and state • Active industry-academic partnerships at any given time, number of chairs invested by industry and entrepreneurs into specific areas of opportunity, non-patent related partnerships and economic results; • Amount of square feet devoted to specific areas of science, technology by disease, grand challenge, and/or market opportunity; specialized equipment and infrastructure devoted to same: • Basic versus applied versus clinical research activities by department and potential applied sector or technology 12
  14. 14. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 We have created over 40 different questions and survey assessments to drill-down further into the ‘economic anthropology’ of regional innovation settings. In a majority of regions and campus-related initiatives, the answers we receive have been typical and consistent enough to report them here: • We do not have the months nor the staff to capture this data • We will need to convene a whole range of people and offices • We do not collect this type of data currently • We cannot provide this information as it will be used against us • We must peer review the methodology and assessment process • We would like to share this information but our faculty will not be pleased • We do not want to be ranked on our answers • We have these right here…..but the information is not in a form that will make it easy for review • We have already reported this data to the state or federal agencies – can’t you get it from them We have become accustomed to these responses and truly understand the obligation of the task when requested. However, what frankly has become discouraging is that the additional response is not as immediate: “…and yet, this is too important to redefining ourselves to ourselves, to our stakeholders, to our investors and to our region…” It is often with much collective explanation, encouragement, and in some cases the heavy-hand of a Governor, Board member, or significant philanthropist that we have been able to go from perceived negative consequences to willing and even enthusiastic partners. Therefore, our conclusion is that those academic research enterprises that ‘get it” or are willing to advance their engagement models have recognized that even if the data has not been captured or might result in low numbers are valuable to a process of evolving from a traditional model to a newer set of relationships. What we simply know from experience, interaction, and observation is that those campuses that are making progress have identified how they have actually gotten in their own way. Some institutions take radical and dramatic steps to adjust their engagement model, others take purposeful and measured steps but at least take them in a pronounced and public demonstration. When we developed this initial sample list of inventory related survey elements, it was based on long discussion and listening to those institutions that had made progress that could be measured through empirical evidence and solid reputational impact. From the University of California San Diego, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the University of Central Florida, the University of Texas Arlington, Kansas State University, George Mason University, Virginia Tech, and a host of other learning and discovery we realized that several “values” were consistent across our sample: • First, innovation is not about technology or scientific tools – it has always been about social process; • Second, the social process requires openness, accessibility, transparency, trust, mutual benefit, hospitable locations to conduct work and relationship building; • Third, hospitable conditions to work have been driven on a responsibility mindset to expand the horizons for students, and faculty while reaching out to those that both add to and leverage the pool of knowledge; • Fourth, the pool of knowledge is not taken for granted that it only exist among the current academic setting but that shared knowledge ‘systems’ must be dynamic and flexible; • Fifth, while being dynamic and flexible to connecting to and sharing knowledge, partners outside the fence-line want consistency and little friction to the interactions; • Sixth, the interactions are based on value – not just the factors mentioned above – but value that tends to be economic, societal, and sustainable just as any relationship requires several benefits: • Seventh, benefits can be described by defining individual ‘care-abouts’ – what motivates one person might be different to the next – and unless the definitions of these ‘care-abouts’ are identified early and 13
  15. 15. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 clearly the expectations are never going to be met: • Eighth, expectations are constantly being assessed to ensure that the relationship, the social process is productive and vibrant; and • Ninth, good behavior is honored and celebrated, bad behavior is isolated and minimized. Let us concentrate on two aspects from these values. While seeming too soft an element of organizational behavior, discovering what are the ‘care-abouts’ among academic interests, inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, and the regional economic development community are often overlooked or blown through to the detriment of the entire collaborative arrangement. What individuals’ care-about, what motivates them is devalued in many processes and assessments of the talent and skills sitting among the regional environment for the academic enterprise. Some individuals are motivated by recognition, some by resources to do their work, some by the discovery process, some by personal commercial and economic success, and still some by the satisfaction of collaboration and networking beyond the quiet laboratory setting. We do not do justice to building the social process of innovation if understanding these motivations are not included in or frankly transform the rewards for students, faculty, adjunct staff, and fellows. The nation and its regions can no longer appreciate (nor accept) the limitations of the Faculty Senate mindset that fosters an unspoken barrier based on the story of the five crabs in a bucket, and the first to seek to climb out gets pulled back down by the other four. There is a need for a portfolio of rewards that respond to individual care-abouts, or there is a need for radical changes in long-standing traditions whether it is tenure or the assessment of academic research enterprise students and faculty alike. If innovation IS a social process, the academic research enterprise must adopt a culture of and a mindset for an engagement model that maximizes the relationship-building, the networking, and the sustainability of the environment for collaboration. Protest to the contrary, these observations are not naïve nor for the lack of the litigiousness of the American culture and risk adverseness. The practicalities of how a 21st century American Academic Engagement Model unfolds can no longer tolerate the lack of urgency by which our nation, our competitiveness and our future requires more from our colleges and universities than ever in our history. 14
  16. 16. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 With Grand Challenges Comes Great Responsibility, Duty, and Hard Choices: the Urgency of Launching A New Engagement Model Do the nation’s academic research institutions need to consider dividing the campus into a basic research and an applied, translational research setting? How do academic institutions and their research compartments make an urgent transformation without halving and otherwise curtailing other important and worthy programs in areas such as liberal arts? Should a campus become more about “teams of learning and discovery” and less about departments and the 18th-19th-20th century organizational charts? Simply, do we have the engines of responding to grand challenges in place today or is there a need to restructure, realign, and reward a transformational effort? If the academic institution is reflective of a society’s interests in learning, discovering, and encouraging economic and societal benefit, then what limits the current and future reflection of an American 21st Century challenged by globalization, competitiveness and innovation? What responsibility and duty is our nation calling upon the academic research enterprise to either lead or collaborate upon in new models of engagement? These questions and a host of similar queries require answers – and more urgently and immediately than time allows for conferences, summits, and discussions resulting in new reports and recommendations. As in any enterprise – corporate, industrial, entrepreneurial, economic and regional – the sense of urgency at any given point requires a responsiveness that truncates the usual processing of ideas and information, leading to enough navel gazing as entrepreneurs are often to remark. Such an endeavor calls for leadership and the academic research community has shown such leadership at critical times in our nation’s evolution. Yet, the sense is that the academic leadership community is fragmented, not acting as one voice, and at the regional level sometimes choosing to be isolated from regional excellence rather than focusing on the institution’s excellence alone. In survey after survey, the difficulty to engage with the academic research enterprise is at the top of the list of regional barriers to collaborative success. In some cases, we have found that it is just a lack of effective communications between parties, or even it is the result of one failure in the past that becomes mythological to generations of stakeholders for which the institution cannot recover. It requires leadership to strengthen the communications, relationships, and the mission on which all students and faculty support and involve themselves in the engagement model. Leadership requires more than words – and while there are measures that assess if commercialization and engagement are a part of institutional goals, the reality is soon discovered when actions are less than the speeches, websites, and presentations. It never takes long for a ‘customer’ to base a decision on experiential evidence and in a period when customers have more choices than before, choices are made on the effectiveness of applied leadership through efficient implementation. When NES surveys regional engagement models, one set of questions covers what might be referenced as customer satisfaction. We have and hoped to further communicate that such satisfaction assessments will always tilt to the less-than-positive response: customers with so many choices can never truly be satisfied, while at the same time the current engagement model is set- up for failure and dissatisfaction. Our focus has been to determine customer choice on a set of transactions: the number of students hired in the region after graduation, the number of faculty involved in start-up or emerging company advisory, the number of chairs and programs invested on the campus by regional sources. These and other elements indicate a willingness to “purchase” the know-what and know-how on the campus – and to sustain the sources of knowledge by reinvesting in more ways than just sponsored research. Correspondingly, choices must be made in the academic research enterprise. And to some readers this will raise the issue of academic freedom or the arms-length separation of interests. Hard choices 15
  17. 17. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 come with consequences and those consequences go through a risk assessment and risk mitigation exercise. However, it is the environment or the mindset that a group ‘owns’ when the risk exercise is conducted – and currently we are a nation in urgent need of the academic enterprise such that traditional risk measures demand bold, broader, and imaginative consideration. Editorials and commentaries as well as numerous reports posture the environment for risk measures as one of relevancy – such as “…these institutions are losing their relevancy if they do not get on with fixing themselves…” Relevancy has not rung enough bells or in most cases has been a put-off to the ears on and around the campuses. Other comparisons or critiques center on the return on investment of taxpayer dollars and investments. We have needed and will continue to have higher education institutions well into our future. We will always invest in academic institutions. But the days of congressional and legislative perceptions that academic campuses are homes for wayward politically partisan thinkers and post K-12 school-houses must come to end the often-wasteful reviews and public sector scrutiny that is not focused on the most important areas of interest for addressing grand challenges. We need the best academic research enterprises a nation can produce – full stop, period, exclamation mark. But the academic research enterprise community must make a few hard choices. Overlapping commitments, stovepiped departments, faculty demands that are based on “they have one, we need one”, and experiences that foment distrust and on-going customer dissatisfaction. Hard choices are necessary on the reorganization of the campus delivery of both learning and discovery as well as engagement. Who is required to create the response to these hard choices? Governors, legislators, regents and trustees, philanthropy, congressional delegation members, students, entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators? Is the reason the academic research enterprise creates separate ‘corporations’, research parks, or even international partnering arrangements based in some way on the difficulties to make hard choices? Implications for Research Universities • More and more industries, organizations, and groups are seeking Meeting the Economic Development access to the university’s knowledge resources. Challenge • Demand for greater access to research libraries, supercomputer centers, wet labs, patients for clinical trials, researchers for verification studies, faculty for advanced and interdisciplinary • “Assuring economic development into the education twenty-first century will be based less on • Advanced scientists and professionals in business and industry buoying up traditional industries than it will have increasing needs to effectively manage and use the be on developing industries that are based information and technologies rapidly changing around them • Community leaders and government officials are seeking on new technologies, providing new resources to analyze and address continually changing social and products and services, and continuously re- economic conditions. skill the people who lead and work in those • Workers are facing continual demands to expand their industries” knowledge base – their skills and talents "Knowledge Without Boundaries" by "Knowledge Without Boundaries" by Dr. Mary Walshok, UCSD Dr. Mary Walshok, UCSD 16
  18. 18. 21st Century Academic Research Enterprises – Briefing Paper 4 June 2008 A Conclusion to the Discussion and Debate: Necessary Actions for the Near-term First, as we noted, innovation is occuring across the U.S. inspite of new programs, investments, and initaitives. Innovators, entrepreneurs, investors alike are working together in small corners of academia, industry, and even laboratories of both federal and private sector interests to exploit ideas and market needs. These individuals and institutions act regardless of boundaries, barriers, or best practices; instead, innovation is like mercury – finding the cracks and crevices that allow it to freely flow. How we as a nation and in turn as regional economies become more innovative appears to be supported by this mindset of frictionless, openness, and accelerated results-oriented. Second, regional economies appear to be testing with positive results any number of solutions to fostering a more robust and hospitable environment for Academic Research Enterprise Engagement. As noted in the diagram below from Greater Philadelphia, a lifecycle of programs, initiatives, events, and measurement seek to ensure that the baton is passed from stage to stage with minimal interference and bumbling of the effort. What NES has begun to advocate in previous briefings is the formation of new Innovation Intermediaries that are linked with and among the academic research institutions and the Know-How/Know-What of regional capacities to discover-develop-deliver. Academic research enterprises should be in the forefront of designing, investing, and launching these intermediaries as collaborative and relationships building for immediate agendas. Products Services of Innovation Intermediaries Global & Regional Economic Research & Investment Commercialization Development Marketing World’s Best Technology Network Finally, we must not only invest in but support to the fullest of active White House, Congressional, Departmental and Gubernatorial interests the results of previous experiments in pilot projects that sought to leverage the unique talents and experts within regions and proximate to the research campus. Simply, it is time to unleash the resources and capacities within regional economies to exploit investments and continued but urgent focus on our national Grand Challenges. 17
  19. 19. We welcome your comments, observations and added insights to this briefing, white paper. Please send your comments to rss@new-econ.com. In the future, we will be establishing an online ‘community’ for exchange of ideas, reports, and most importantly engaging our colleagues in on-going discussions and exploration. New Economy Strategies LLC 1250 24th Street, N.W. Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20037 (202) 466-0566 info@new-econ.com