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Start a Business, Don't Sell Out

Courtesy of Simon Portman Many scientists offered the opportunity of doing industrially sponsored work would be glad for the cash. But they also face the prospect with a certain amount of nervousness. Will their academic integrity be compromised? Will they be shackled by a complicated legal document, which they do not understand until, months later, they find themselves targeted in a lawsuit because they have unwittingly breached one of its contractual terms? The problem is that industry and

Simon Portman
Courtesy of Simon Portman

Many scientists offered the opportunity of doing industrially sponsored work would be glad for the cash. But they also face the prospect with a certain amount of nervousness. Will their academic integrity be compromised? Will they be shackled by a complicated legal document, which they do not understand until, months later, they find themselves targeted in a lawsuit because they have unwittingly breached one of its contractual terms?

The problem is that industry and academia have different agendas: Academia aims for the dissemination of knowledge; industry wants to turn knowledge into commercial products. The good news is that acceptable compromises can generally be found.

In the United States, academia and industry enjoy an interchange, and the technology clusters of Europe and Austral-asia are also developing this flexible mindset. Scientists negotiating with a big corporation (or the institution negotiating on their behalf) will face a number of...

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