Investments, incentives, and the impact of Danish research (Triple-I-Research)
Description: The purpose is to improve our understanding of the way universities, firms and research funders interact and how research impacts society at large. We will focus on the pivotal role of individual researchers and their interactions with firms, funders and universities. We will analyse the incentives and constraints researchers face and explore how these influence their research activities such as publishing, patenting or starting spin-off firms. Understanding how the mechanisms work at the micro level will allow us to assess the likely impact of research. We accomplish this research on the basis of uniquely detailed and comprehensive data on Danish researchers and their interactions, the Triple-I-Research database constructed from registry information and researcher surveys.
In contexts where the abstract and predictive outcomes of theory-driven research from the lab provide little insight for solving practical problems, use-inspired research is argued to shape advances in science by leading more directly to practice-oriented outcomes. We show that in the biomedical sector, basic research conducted by clinical scientists is significantly more likely to exploit prior insights from the applied literature, and triggers relatively more applied and industrial follow-on research compared to a sample of randomly matched articles. However, clinical scientists’ engagement in the development of this type of practice-oriented and use-inspired basic research is limited due to the intensity of their clinical obligations and patient care. The allocation of a unique fellowship that partly releases these clinical scientists from their clinical burden fosters the development of practice-oriented and use-inspired basic science. These clinical scientists tend to publish more and shift their focus towards the development of scientific basic research that integrates insights from bench and bedside.
Research Summary: The ability of innovative firms to create and capture value depends on innovations that are quickly and widely adopted. Yet, stakeholder concerns can establish important barriers to diffusion. We study the human capital aspect of this challenge and investigate whether innovative firms pay salary premiums to new hires with work experience from advocacy groups like Transparency International. We integrate strategic human capital with stakeholder theory and suggest that advocacy group experience creates signals for valuable human capital in terms of stakeholder knowledge and legitimacy transfers to innovative firms. Using matched data for 3,562 employees in Denmark, we find that new hires with advocacy group experience enjoy larger salary premiums at technologically leading firms, in occupations with
direct stakeholder interaction, and for advocacy group top management.
Managerial Summary: Innovation research is increasingly aware of the non-technological factors behind successful innovations. Users, regulators, or public opinion can be benevolent supporters or stingy opponents of innovations. Employees with an understanding of the needs and sensitivities of societal stakeholders should therefore be valuable to innovative firms. We find this to be the case when innovative firms hire employees from advocacy groups representing such stakeholders (e.g., Transparency International). Such employees receive higher salaries than an otherwise comparable reference group. These findings indicate that recruiting needs of innovative firms reward stakeholder experience, not merely technological expertise. They demonstrate how firms can create value in the pursuit of the public interest. Further, advocacy groups emerge as an important career stage allowing individuals to develop credible signals for stakeholder expertise.
Research Summary: A learning-by-hiring approach is used to scrutinize scientists’ mobility in relation to the recruiting firms’ subsequent innovation output. Our starting point is that among firm hires, individuals with university research experience—hired from universities or firms—can be particularly valuable. However, conflicting institutional logics between academia and industry makes working with academic scientists challenging at times for firms. We suggest two solutions to this difficulty: hiring “ambidextrous” individuals with a mix of experience of university research and working for a technologically advanced firm, and a strong organizational research culture in the recruiting firm reflected by the presence of a scientist on the top management team. We track the mobility of R&D workers empirically using patent and linked employer-employee data.
Managerial Summary: An important way to make organizations more innovative is hiring individual researchers with the right types of skills and experience. We show that individuals with university research experience beyond their final degree are particularly likely to help boost firm level innovation output after hiring compared to R&D workers with other types of skills and experience. However, to obtain good returns to innovation from hiring such individuals, firms need a university research–friendly organizational culture when hiring individuals with university research experience, from either firms or academia.
Can publicly available, web-scraped data be used to identify promising business startups at an early stage? To answer this question, we use such textual and non-textual information about the names of Danish firms and their addresses as well as their business purpose statements (BPSs) supplemented by core accounting information along with founder and initial startup characteristics to forecast the performance of newly started enterprises over a five years’ time horizon. The performance outcomes we consider are involuntary exit, above–average employment growth, a return on assets of above 20 percent, new patent applications and participation in an innovation subsidy program. Our first key finding is that our models predict startup performance with either high or very high accuracy with the exception of high returns on assets where predictive power remains poor. Our second key finding is that the data requirements for predicting performance outcomes with such accuracy are low. To forecast the two innovation related performance outcomes well, we only need to include a set of variables derived from the BPS texts while an accurate prediction of startup survival and high employment growth needs the combination of (i) information derived from the names of the startups, (ii) data on elementary founder-related characteristics and (iii) either variables describing the initial characteristics of the startup (to predict startup survival) or business purpose statement information (to predict high employment growth). These sets of variables are easily obtainable since the underlying information is mandatory to report upon business registration. The substantial accuracy of our predictions for survival, employment growth, new patents and participation in innovation subsidy programs indicates ample scope for algorithmic scoring models as an additional pillar of funding and innovation support decisions.
Universitetsforskere forventes i stigende grad at engagere sig med erhvervslivet, den offentlige sektor og det bredere samfund til gavn for vækst og udvikling i samfundet. Der er ofte en tendens til at fokusere relativt snævert på kommercialiseringsorienterede aktiviteter som etablering af spin-off-firmaer, licensiering eller salg af universitetsejede patenter. Det udgør dog kun »toppen af isbjerget«, når man ser på universiteternes overordnede samspil med erhvervslivet. Faktisk tyder meget på, at andre mindre synlige mekanismer fylder mere både i det samlede volumen og i bidraget til formidling og anvendelse af universitetsgenereret viden, metoder og teknologi.
— Results from a 2017 survey of university
researchers in Denmark
”University researchers engagement with industry, the public sector and society – Results from a 2017 survey of university researchers in Denmark” (November 2017) by H.C. Kongsted, Valentina Tartari, Davide Cannito, Maria Theresa Norn, and Jeppe Wohlert.
Summary: The report presents key findings from a survey of researchers employed at Danish universities. The survey, which covers all eight Danish universities, was undertaken in October 2017 by researchers at the Department of Innovation and Organisational Economics, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), led by Assistant Professor Valentina Tartari and Professor H.C. Kongsted. The main findings are that engagement with stakeholders is common among researchers at Danish universities, but researchers engage to varying degrees; researchers engage with non-academic stakeholders in a wide variety of ways, including many “hidden” mechanisms not visible in official statistics. Engagement is not limited to the STEM disciplines; it is also common in the social sciences and humanities. Researchers are motivated to engage with non-academic stakeholders by benefits to their research and teaching rather than direct personal gain; conflicting goals and time frames in academia and industry were identified as the most common barriers to engagement. As a special focus of the report we analyse gender differences in terms of the forms of engagement adopted, the partners involved, the motivations to engage, and the barriers to engagement as perceived by female and male researchers.
Click here to download report.
Background data is available in Excel here.
“Experience Matters: The Role of Academic Scientist Mobility for Industrial Innovation” by Kaiser, U., H.C. Kongsted, K. Laursen and A-K. Ejsing, Strategic Management Journal, 39 (7), 1935-1958.
Research summary: A learning-by-hiring approach is used to scrutinize scientists’ mobility in relation to the recruiting firms’ subsequent innovation output. Our starting point is that among firm hires, individuals with university research experience — hired from universities or firms — can be particularly valuable. However, conflicting institutional logics between academia and industry makes working with academic scientists challenging at times for firms. We suggest two solutions to this difficulty: hiring ‘ambidextrous’ individuals with a mix of experience of university research and working for a technologically advanced firm, and a strong organizational research culture in the recruiting firm reflected by the presence of a scientist on the top management team. We track the mobility of R&D workers empirically using patent and linked employer-employee data.
Managerial summary: An important way to make organizations more innovative is hiring individual researchers with the right types of skills and experience. We show that individuals with university research experience beyond their final degree are particularly likely to help boost firm-level innovation output after hiring compared to R&D workers with other types of skills and experience. However, to obtain good returns to innovation from hiring such individuals, firms need a university research-friendly organizational culture when hiring individuals with university research experience, from either firms or academia.
Click to download front page of research article.Download file
“Beyond scientific excellence: Are internationally mobile researchers more likely to become academic entrepreneurs?” by Wolf-Hendrik Uhlbach, Valentina Tartari and Hans Christian Kongsted.
Summary: Policy makers and researchers increasingly pay attention to the role of highly skilled migrants as entrepreneurs and generally conceptualize them as being exceptionally entrepreneurial. Therefore, this paper poses the question of whether there is a premium or discount of entrepreneurial entry. In order to answer this question, we make use of a unique data set, which combines a representative survey of Danish academics, their life-time publication records as well as information from the business registry. We solve a widely faced problem of confounding effects of education as well as the “entrepreneurial” act of migration itself by only looking at academics and by comparing immigrants to a more adequate control group, returnees. We find evidence that even after controlling for scientific field, performance and personality traits, immigrant academics in Denmark are significantly less likely to start a company than returnees are. The difference in terms of entrepreneurial propensity of 6 to 8 percent suggests that there exist substantial barriers for foreign academics to engage in academic entrepreneurship.