Title: Why and how do academics bridge the gap between invention and innovation?

Authors: Réean Landry; Nabil Amara

Addresses: Department of Management, Laval University, G1V 0A6, Québec City, Québec, Canada, USA ' Department of Management, Laval University, G1V 0A6, Québec City, Québec, Canada, USA

Abstract: Although many university inventions and discoveries originating from academia are at a stage beyond basic research, they are yet insufficiently developed to be transformed into innovations without additional research designed to establish proofs of principle (POP) at many levels: technical proof, intellectual property control proof, safety proof, value proof, economic proof and attractiveness proof. Based on the data of a large survey of Canadian academics in natural sciences and engineering, the results of this study show that about 20% of the surveyed respondents engaged in different forms of POP despite the absence of incentives to do so. The results also suggest the presence of interdependence (complementarities) between the different forms of POP. Finally, the results show that funding from industry, strong ties with industry and use of services provided by university technology transfer offices are positively associated with the different forms of POP. These results are used to derive policy implications and directions for future research.

Keywords: proof of principle; POP; technical feasibility; university inventions; academics; innovation; natural sciences; engineering; complementarities; strong ties; technology transfer; policy implications; Canada; university research.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2012.046615

International Journal of Technology Management, 2012 Vol.58 No.3/4, pp.174 - 212

Published online: 06 Apr 2013 *

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