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In the transportation, distribution, and logistics services industry and the financial services industry, a sizeable cultural gap remains between in- dustry and R&D in general, and academic research in particular.As a result, although academic research has had a significant impact on both, neither industry has developed interfaces with academic research comparable to those of the medical devices and equipment industry or the network systems and commu- nications industry.
Companies have different needs and abilities to interact with academic researchers, and universities have differ- ent resources to devote to research of value to industry.
Generalizations about what works best for all industries and universities should, therefore, be made very cautiously. The academic research enterprise is a major component of the national innovation system in the United States.
Ideas and people tend to bounce around, and new ideas are sometimes stymied by political or business impediments and forced to find alternative routes to implementation.
CONTRIBUTIONS OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH Contributions of academic research to the five industries studied include: graduates trained in modern research techniques; fundamental concepts and "key ideas" resulting from basic and applied research; and the development and testing of tools, prototypes, and marketable products, processes, and services.
The core competencies of aca- demic research help sustain and leverage innovation to the benefit of industry.
Box 7-1 summarizes the innovation systems) for the five industries, which are innovative to varying degrees and in different ways that tend to change over time. innovation system has many strengths: · Open labor markets allow technically trained and educated people to move relatively freely between and among universities and industry.Many high-technology clusters around the coun- try have developed around one or more research university.THE CONTRIBUTIONS AND IMPACT OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH Contributions from Basic, Long-Term Research 209 Finding 7-4.A large number of research structures and mechanisms, both internal and external to the university (e.g., academic departments, research centers, industry laboratories, start-up companies), provide multiple pathways for the commercialization of new ideas.A strong market and consumer demand for new technologies provides strong commercial incentives for introducing new technologies and, there- fore, strong incentives for funding research to create them.7 The Contributions and Impact of Academic Research Significant contributions have been made by academic researchers in all five of the industries examined in this study.Each industry illustrates a unique pattern of industry-university research collaboration and different ways academic contri- butions are used.The sources of these contributions include engineering, the natural sciences, com- puter sciences, mathematics, social sciences, behavioral sciences, management studies, and policy sciences. University-based research provides an education/training ground for entrants into the industrial workforce.Integrated research and education helps maintain the flow of human resources from universities that contributes to an educated, trained industrial workforce.In building infrastructure for network systems, universities have historically been test beds for new concepts and capa- bilities.For the medical devices and equipment industry, fundamental 205 206 THE IMPACT OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH ON INDUSTRIAL PERFORMANCE multidisciplinary research involving physical sciences and engineering, com- bined with academic medical centers, provides a critical environment for re- searching, developing, testing, and improving devices and for conducting the clinical trials necessary to obtaining regulatory approval, all in an atmosphere of close industry-university collaboration.