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INSEAD Highlights The Impact of Universities’ Knowledge Transfer on Economic Development

Dr. Ashley Stevens of Boston University discussed the implications of the US policy on developing an innovation based economy.

January 14, 2011 2:36 by

INSEAD, the leading international business school, today hosted a seminar on ‘Universities’ Knowledge Transfer: The U.S. Case’ at the school’s Middle East Campus in Abu Dhabi. Sponsored by Booz & Company, the seminar is part of INSEAD’s Policy Breakfasts Series in Abu Dhabi which invites leaders from the region to discuss government policy and initiatives.

The breakfast began with a presentation given by Dr. Ashley Stevens, Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, School of Management, Boston University. This session was followed by a panel discussion on the relevance of the Bayh-Dole Act as a model for the Gulf region’s economic development.

Dr. Stevens highlighted the impact of the Bayh-Dole Act, passed by the U.S. Senate 30 years ago, which allowed universities, rather than professors, to own inventions made with federal funding. In his presentation, Dr. Stevens discussed the profound implications this Act has had on the U.S. economy and presented findings on how it played a critical role in rejuvenating the entire U.S. economic system, transforming it from a manufacturing base to an innovation base.

‘The institutional-ownership model is spreading to emerging economies, as professors, who are inherently entrepreneurial in their academic pursuits, realise that their research can have an impact in the broader world,’ said Dr. Sami Mahroum, Research Director of INSEAD’s Innovation and Policy Initiative. ‘Dr. Stevens provided unique insights into the U.S. case and how the Bayh-Dole Act can serve as a model for economic development in the Middle East.’

In his current role at Boston University, Dr. Stevens has been tasked with exploring the faculty’s interest in launching a university-wide academic program focused on the role of intellectual property and the evolution of models for the translation of ideas and knowledge into economic development.

‘As part of their drive to diversify their economic base and build knowledge-based economies, many countries in the region are investing heavily in building their R&D infrastructure,’ said Chadi N. Moujaes, Principal at Booz & Company.

Moujaes continued: ‘To benefit from this investment, governments should place sufficient attention on building the legal and funding infrastructure as well as developing the human capital. The national R&D agenda must be coherent with the capabilities of the local academic institutions and companies. Moreover, the commercial private sector should be encouraged to become more active in investing in R&D. Finally, there should be closer cooperation and coordination (not just pure competition) among the different regional initiatives to build scale and capitalize on joint investments’

INSEAD’s policy breakfasts are a series of early morning seminars that focus on current policy issues through the lenses of academics and practitioners in industry and government. The series is aimed at professionals concerned with government policy.

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