Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Universities and Research

A report from the IRS states that university-funded technology incubators and early-stage capital programs do not detract from the nonprofit, educational purpose of the institution.

This fascinating ruling points to an interesting dichotomy in the role of research universities: the focus on basic and highly applied research. If universities had traditionally focused on basic research that eventually (and only possibly) resulted in practical innovations, then will a focus on highly applied research with a focus on commercialization eradicate basic research? And, if so, where will basic research originate to fuel the next innovations?

However, if entrepreneurship is best learned in practice, a shift by universities to support the commercialization of research by faculty members and students may be the most powerful learning tool.

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