Most of us 'grew up' with and probably accept without question the three-fold mission of the Land Grant University; teaching, research and extension/public service. Emerging in the 1980s and gaining momentum during the 1990s, pressure for a fourth mission has gained currency as an explicit obligation of research universities. Impetus for that mission, innovation and new technology-based economic development, was fueled by deep interests of a plethora of stakeholders. Responses to this interest have taken a variety of forms including encouraging faculty and students to become entrepreneurs; offering courses and curricula on entrepreneurship; devoting more attention to technology licensing offices; providing support services for start-ups; creating university-affiliated research parks and business incubators; raising early-stage venture funds; and forming partnerships with economic development organizations (Tornatzky, Waugamen, and Gray). At many research universities, traditional structures and strategies are challenged to effectively accomplish this fourth mission. The purpose of this paper is (a) to identify structural enhancements to fulfill an innovation and new technology-based economic development mission and (b) to suggest an alternative organizational strategy for universities striving to fulfill this responsibility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics