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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Commercialization of university research : the case of Nanjing, China Fu, Xiao


The Chinese government is propelling commercialization of university research as a strategy to boost industrial innovation and upgrade economic structure. Nanjing, the national third largest hub of science and technology (S&T) resources, was selected in 2009 as the only pilot city for comprehensive S&T institutional reform. Based on in-depth key informant interviews, site visits and documents collected from multi-sources, this study examines the framework conditions as well as specific mechanisms of university research commercialization in Nanjing. This research also strives to broaden and deepen the existent literature on university-industry liaison in China, which is detected as empirically narrow, theoretically thin and analytically shallow. Following an introduction (chapter 1) and a literature review (chapter 2), a China-specific model to analyze regional/local innovation is designed based on a critical review of the development trajectory of innovation theories (chapter 3). Employing this theoretical tool, the multi-layer policies, institutions and programs set up by multi-scalar governments to govern innovation and technology commercialization in Nanjing are depicted and interrogated (chapter 4). At a conceptual level, this multi-layer framework apparatus displays a pattern of “hierarchical amplification”, which the author argues has led to propensities of overcapacity, irrationality and “mission creep” in China’s efforts at boosting innovation. Empirically, four sets of university-affiliated research commercialization channels operating under the multi-layer framework in Nanjing are studied – 1) university technology transfer offices, 2) enterprise-college-institute cooperation platforms, 3) university science parks, and 4) university spin-off companies (chapter 5). This thesis concludes by summarizing the research and identifying impediments in the current university research commercialization regime (chapter 6).

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International