Title: The role of postdoctoral fellows in technology transfer: evidence from the National Capital Region of the USA

Authors: Edmund J. Zolnik

Addresses: School of Public Policy, George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia 22201, USA

Abstract: Surveys of postdoctoral fellows in the National Capital Region of the USA examined their role in transferring technologies from national and university research laboratories to the regional economy. Results suggest that postdoctoral fellows identified themselves as having a vital role in technology transfer. However, they exhibited very little interest in self-employment after completing their fellowships. Of those few who were actively preparing for self-employment, initial wealth was a distinguishing factor. Housing affordability was a financial constraint for many study participants, but, overall, they expressed satisfaction with the economic and cultural diversity of the area and identified each as an advantage of settling there permanently. Taken together, educational courses and programs which make postdoctoral fellows aware of entrepreneurial career tracks and mentor them early on in their transition from apprentice to entrepreneur are the most appropriate policy interventions suggested by these results.

Keywords: human capital; entrepreneurship; technology transfer; USA; United States; postdoctoral fellows; research laboratories; regional economy; R&D; research and development; self-employment; postdocs; regional development; entrepreneurial career tracks; mentoring.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKBD.2010.035657

International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development, 2010 Vol.1 No.3, pp.158 - 175

Published online: 01 Oct 2010 *

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