Researchers’ industry experience and productivity in university-industry research centers: A scientific and technical human capital explanation

Abstract:

We examine the impact of researchers’ previous industry experience on the research outputs and outcomes of university faculty affiliated with NSF and DOE research centers. Using a dataset combining curriculum vita and surveys, our results indicate significant differences between the researchers who have previous industry experience and those who do not. Using a simple model of research productivity, we found that academic researchers who had prior industry exposure produce fewer total career publications, but they support more students. Most important, and perhaps surprising, we could not establish any difference between the two groups’ publication activity when focusing on a five-year cross section (years 1996–2000) rather than total career publications. We found statistical evidence that previous industry experience raised the annual publication productivity of junior faculty members and women researchers in our sample of research center personnel. We believe the unique blend of research center affiliation, academic post, and past industry experience gives an individual who embodies or possesses all three characteristics a diverse source of scientific and technical human capital and particular advantages over those who have no industry experience (though the ‘‘academic-only’’ set also has particular advantages in cumulative publishing productivity).

Full Paper 

Lin, M. W. & Bozeman, B. (2006). Researchers’ industry experience and productivity in university-industry research centers: A scientific and technical human capital explanation. Journal of Technology Transfer, 31(3), 269-290.