The limits of academic entrepreneurship: Conflicting expectations about commercialization and innovation in China's nascent sector for advanced bio-energy technologies
Abstract Despite many years of substantial government research funding, advanced bio-energy technologies in China have seen limited commercial application. Chinese policy makers are increasingly critical of academic organizations for neglecting their role in the transfer of scientific results into industrial applications. We interviewed a selection of Chinese research groups working on bio-energy technologies, and asked them to describe their efforts at commercialization. We found that they focus their research on technological pathways with commercial potential, they patent and attempt to license their technologies, they are highly involved in large scale demonstration plants, and have created a number of new firms. Industry and government may have unrealistic expectations on the maturity and scale of technologies that academia can develop, however. These findings contrast with many earlier analyses of early commercialization stages of novel technologies, which have commonly identified lacking academic entrepreneurship as a root cause in stalling development. Highlights There is limited commercial application of advanced bio-energy technologies in China. Lacking academic entrepreneurship is not a root cause of stalling development. Academia in China consider commercial viability in determining research agendas. Academia are heavily involved in numerous and large scale demonstration plants. A bigger barrier is limited interest in immature tech from industry and government.
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