Cross Faculty Proximity and Academic Entrepreneurship: The Role of Business Schools

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On the 5th of May 2021, City-REDI held an external seminar featuring Dr Michael Wyrwich from the University of Groningen.

Cross Faculty Proximity and Academic Entrepreneurship: The Role of Business Schools


Over the past decades, entrepreneurial activity has started to be considered a third mission of higher education institutions. Our study examines the extent to which entrepreneurship at universities is driven by spatial proximity between university faculties.

To this end, we use a new dataset that links information on business idea generation by faculties of German universities between 2007 and 2014 with comprehensive data on structural characteristics of these universities and faculties (e.g., number of academic staff, students, industry funding).

Our analysis shows that the emergence of entrepreneurial ideas in natural sciences is positively affected by proximity to business schools. This pattern suggests the presence of knowledge flows between these two types of university faculties as an important source of science-based and technology-oriented business ideas. We do not find such a relationship between proximity to business schools and other faculties.

Cross-faculty proximity and academic entrepreneurship: the role of business schools – Maximilian Goethner and Michael Wyrwich, 27th March 2019.

Summary of the event
  • Academic entrepreneurship is the commercial exploitation of scientific research by academics/the university (Shane, 2004; Wright et al., 2007)
  • This paper focus on the faculty level and its aim is to analyse the generation of business ideas in academia and additionally investigating the role of co-location of faculties for the generation of business ideas (cross-faculty spillovers).
  • Using an indicator of business idea generation that is comparable across faculties (the number of successful applications for the “EXIST” programme business start-up grant per faculty and year overall eligible university members) combined with data are combined with University Statistics of Federal Statistical Office.
  • The study found that level of entrepreneurial activities in natural science faculties is positively affected by proximity to Business Schools.
  • The findings reveal an underlying mechanism namely that technological knowledge of less applied character requires proximity to managerial and commercial knowledge input to emerge into entrepreneurial projects.
  • The study contributes to the literature on university entrepreneurship by investigating the emergence of entrepreneurial ideas at the level of university faculties.

Upcoming City-REDI Seminars:
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Dr Rhiannon Pugh CIRCLE, Lund University, Sweden The changing roles of universities during the Covid crisis Book a place
Beatriz Jambrina Canseco, PhD LSE, UK The stories we tell ourselves: Local newspaper reporting and support for the radical right Book a place

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