Research Collaboration and Commercialization: The PhD Candidate Perspective

Dooley, Lawrence and Kenny, Breda (2015) Research Collaboration and Commercialization: The PhD Candidate Perspective. Industry and Higher Education, 29 (2). pp. 93-110. ISSN 0950-4222


This paper explores PhD students' perceptions of their entrepreneurial and commercial capabilities, their attitude towards university supports and the extent to which they engage in external collaboration. The study concentrated on current PhD researchers at one university in Ireland as a unit of analysis and provides encouraging evidence from the PhD student perspective. There is a strong base to work from, considering the level of absorptive capacity in terms of industrial experience and the desire to increase business/entrepreneurial capability. This capacity sits alongside a realism on the part of the students, who openly acknowledge their skills deficit but believe that education modules can close this gap. There was a willingness to invest in entrepreneurial up-skilling to a point, with the students wishing to maintain a balance between mastery of their discipline and the development of entrepreneurial capability. However, no evidence was found that individual capability combined with university supports is a predictor of research commercialization activities or of collaborative research endeavours.

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