based on the faculty member's academic research (Blumenthal at al., 1986a). More recently, Krimsky et al. (1991), have shown that nearly one third of the faculty in selected life sciences departments had some link to private firms. Gluck et al. (1987) also surveyed 700 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the life sciences departments of six research universities and found that 19 percent received some research or educational support from industry.

The level of industry participation in academic research relationships is also worthy of mention. Although research-intensive pharmaceutical companies have had longstanding relationships with academic institutions, the relative importance of these relationships could be measured by the escalation of arrangements with biotechnology firms. A 1984 survey by Blumenthal et al. (1986b), of 106 firms conducting research in biotechnology revealed that nearly half supported research in universities. Thus, it can be inferred that there are many positive aspects of academic-industry linkages that are important to the successful translation of this new technology to commercial products and applications.


Access to Fundamental Scientific Advances

The boundaries of the earlier paradigm of developing new knowledge and theoretical concepts in academia and the transformation of this knowledge into practical application by industry are becoming more blurred. Although the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries conduct fundamental research in many areas, they are still highly dependent on the results of the discovery process, which is embedded in the biomedical research laboratories of academia and certain government agencies such as NIH. Development and the clinical application of new discoveries are, on the other hand, highly dependent on the interest of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. This interdependence became even more relevant when universities, academic medical centers, and government agencies obtained the right to protect their intellectual property through the patent process. Nonetheless, the R&D process works best for the health of the public when there is a rapid and facile pace of discovery, disclosure, and technology transfer.

Some scientific fields have evolved in such a manner that commercial applications derive more readily and rapidly from academically based research than was previously the norm. In the health research arena, biotechnology could be cited as a prime example. Not only is industry involved in developing technology for end-use patient care, but, in cooperation with academic institutions, is also actively involved in commercializing midstage fundamental knowledge into commercial products such as recombinant DNA procedures and

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement