produces a broad materials technology platform that is useful in devising bone substitutes and bone grafts. Although there was a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and Orthovita, academia and industry have different objectives. This gives raise to “relational cliffhangers.” Specifically, the company cannot be the funding vehicle of the university lab, and the university lab cannot be the extension of corporate R&D. “An arm’s-length relationship is essential for both parties,” said Professor Ducheyne.
He concluded with some principles of the academic mission. First, for academic institutions, it is fundamental that knowledge creation and dissemination share top priority. This implies that knowledge creation will benefit from the quality of education delivered to students at all levels, be it undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate. Second, a technology transfer relationship between centers of higher learning and their corporate offspring must not be open-ended but confined in time.
Professor Ducheyne was asked how he would improve innovation in European universities. He emphasized the importance of the environment in each case, and said, by way of example, that in Holland at least, the “cliffhangers” he mentioned were often inadequately considered. “It is important that universities do not become applied science centers,” he said. “Excellence cannot be compromised.”