Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



The primary purpose of this exploratory study was to determine if there is a best model available for public research universities to use when they are implementing or revising a mechanism to commercialize early-stage academic biotechnology inventions and discoveries. Unintended consequences, including conflicts of interest, faculty roles, and the mission of the public research university were also studied in order to determine if these issues could be managed or removed when academic biotechnology commercialization occurred. This study compared the best practices biotechnology commercialization model at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) with biotechnology commercialization mechanisms in place in three different public university settings: Georgia Research Alliance (University of Georgia), University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (MBA Entrepreneurial program and Carolina Challenge), and Pennington Biomedical Research Center - Louisiana State University System. The UCSD model included five key components declared essential for commercialization success including: 1) small size of the institution, 2) higher than normal research dollars for faculty, 3) extremely entrepreneurial community, 4) integrated life sciences curriculum, and 5) integrated commercialization track (funding, R&D expertise, springboard for new companies). The study found that not all five components which were deemed essential for success at UCSD were necessary in designing a successful model in the other three organizations. Five new components also emerged as important to consider when creating a commercialization model, including: 1) highly-focused program, 2) critical mass of faculty who commercialize, 3) workforce development, 4) research cross-collaborations, and 5) faculty incentives for commercialization. The study also found several options for managing or removing unintended consequences associated with commercializing early-stage technologies, including: 1) channeling of commercialization revenues to support academic programs, 2) developing university foundation programs for arms-length activities including equity in new companies, and 3) developing specific allowances for faculty engaged in start-up company activities. The researcher recommended that further study be conducted for two of the original five components (higher than normal research dollars for faculty and integrated life sciences curriculum) because they were under-represented or did not exist in the models analyzed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Terry Geske



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