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Track 10.5 - The role of students in bridging research, industry and society

Véronique SCHAEFFER, University of Strasbourg, BETA
René CARRAZ, Toyo University

Track's Contacts : 


Research issues in the field of academic entrepreneurship have long focused on the involvement of faculty members in the diffusion of academic knowledge to industry and society. Recently the field expanded to include the role of students (Siegel, Wright, 2015). The implementation in many regions around the world of policies to support the creation of start-ups based on university research results (Grimaldi et al, 2011), has led to a significant and continuous development of research on academic entrepreneurship since the early 2000s (Rothaermel, 2007, Schmitz et al, 2017). This stream of research has aimed in particular to highlight success factors for academic entrepreneurship and to characterize the mechanisms of knowledge transfer from the academic sphere to commercial applications (Colyvas et al, 2002, Shah, Pahnke, 2014). The elaboration of alternative strategies based on an analysis of regional weaknesses and opportunities assumes that the contribution from the entrepreneurial university to society is broader than the commonly studied factors such as patenting, licensing, and start-up creation. Its contribution relies on many aspects of academic engagement (Perkman et al., 2013; Filipetti, Savona, 2017) including teaching activities, supervision of PhD students, and student internship and placements (Landry et al., 2007). These activities are complementary to traditional technology transfer activities and contribute to the economic and societal impacts of university activities (Grimpe, Hussinger, 2013).

The evolution of the field of academic entrepreneurship research encompasses a willingness to understand how entrepreneurial ecosystems could mere more conducive to the expansion of student entrepreneurship (Wright et al, 2017, Matt, Schaeffer, 2018, Nabi et al, 2017). In France for example, the ‘Pépite’ program, which allows students to benefit from the status of student entrepreneurs, testifies to this evolution. While 637 students had student-entrepreneur status in 2014, there were 3,576 in 2018 (Graveleau, 2018). This phenomenon has attracted the attention and interest of various stakeholders such as institutional actors, decision-makers, existing companies or academic researchers. However, the literature and theoretical studies on the contribution of students in diffusing knowledge in industry and society, as well as how to build entrepreneurial ecosystems prone to student entrepreneurship are still limited (Autio et al., 2018). Similarly, Schmitz et al (2017), in a systematic review of the literature on innovation and academic entrepreneurship, point out that although the literature on the field has been expanding for about 40 years, it is still fragmented and insufficiently theorized, calling for new research to understand the nature of innovation and entrepreneurship processes in universities.
We invite papers that contributes to the understanding of the dynamics of knowledge diffusion driven by students. The various possible contributions include questions such as :

- the variety of channels by which students contribute to academic knowledge diffusion (placements, internship, entrepreneurship…)
- the specificities of students as entrepreneurs (motivation, detection and exploitation of opportunities)
- the nature of the entrepreneurial projects carried out by students (high-tech entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship)
- the building of ecosystems conducive to student entrepreneurs
- challenges associated with education and student entrepreneurship
- organizational challenges for higher education actors
- international disparities in student entrepreneurship
- how to measure student entrepreneurship
- career patterns and prospects for student entrepreneurs