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Universities and start-up creation by Ph.D. graduates: the role of scientific and social capital of academic laboratories

Alessandro Muscio, Sotaro Shibayama () and Laura Ramaciotti
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Sotaro Shibayama: Lund University
Laura Ramaciotti: Università di Ferrara

The Journal of Technology Transfer, 2022, vol. 47, issue 1, No 5, 147-175

Abstract: Abstract This paper investigates how the characteristics of university laboratories influence the propensity of Ph.D. students to entrepreneurship, and thus, contribute to the transfer of academic knowledge to society. As determinants of Ph.D. entrepreneurship, we focus on the lab scientific and social capital as well as on the business experience that Ph.D. students acquire during their training period. The empirical exercise is based on questionnaire survey data of 5266 Ph.D. students in Italian universities in all subject areas. First, we find that 6.7% of the Ph.D. graduates engage in startup activities, and thus, Ph.D. training seems to contribute to knowledge transfer through entrepreneurship. Second, Ph.D. entrepreneurship is driven by business experience, in the forms of industry collaboration and industrially applicable research projects, during their training period. Third, the lab scientific capital is negatively associated with Ph.D. entrepreneurship, suggesting a conflict between scientific excellence and entrepreneurship, but this effect is mitigated if students acquire business experience. Fourth, the lab social capital increases the chance of startup when students have business experience. We further investigate the effects of lab environment by distinguishing between startups that are based on university research and startups that are not, finding different determinants.

Keywords: Student entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurial university; Start-up; Ph.D.; Firm creation; Academic training (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s10961-020-09841-2

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