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Harvard Prof Receives Kauffman Prize Medal for Research on Social Networks and Innovation

September 18, 2006

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has awarded its second Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship to Professor Toby Stuart of the Harvard Business School. The medal is given every two years to a scholar under the age of 40 whose research has made a significant contribution to the study of entrepreneurship and innovation. Stuart accepted the medal last month, along with a cash award of $50,000, at the Academy of Management's annual meeting in Atlanta.

At the ceremony, the Kauffman Foundation cited Professor Stuart's pioneering research on social networks and their effect on entrepreneurship as an example of outstanding contribution to the field. Stuart's latest research suggests that entrepreneurs must be perceived positively within their local entrepreneurship community in order to create successful new firms.

As a service to those Digest readers who do not regularly review the latest academic research in the field, SSTI offers the follow summaries of a selected set of Professor Stuart's most recent articles:

"When Do Scientists Become Entrepreneurs? The Social Structural Antecedents of Commercial Activity in the Academic Life Sciences"

Stuart and Waverly Ding of Berkeleys Haas School of Business take a randomly selected sample of 5,100 life science Ph.D.s in academia, and examine the link between participation in for-profit entrepreneurial ventures and the presence of an academic social network that supports faculty entrepreneurism. They find that university scientists are more likely to found or join the board of a new firm if other faculty members have already done so, particularly if more prestigious colleagues in their department have created their own start-ups. They also find evidence that more accomplished faculty members are more likely to help commercialize technologies and to lead the way in fostering an entrepreneurial climate within a university department.

"The Impact of Academic Patenting on the Rate, Quality and Direction of (Public) Research Output"

In this January 2006 paper, Stuart, Ding, and Pierre Azoulay of Columbia Universitys Graduate School of Business examine the patents and research output of 3,862 academic life scientists to determine if the increasing focus on commercialization at American universities is affecting the quantity and quality of published research. They conclude that patent activity has a positive effect on the rate of article publication, but no observable effect on the quality of those articles.

"Gender Differences in Patenting in the Academic Life Sciences"
In this Kauffman-sponsored study, Stuart, Ding, and Fiona Murray of MIT's Sloan School of Management reveal that male life scientists in academia secure patents at more than twice the rate of their female colleagues. The study suggests that women conduct equally significant research, but often find themselves left out of social networks that provide valuable access to the commercial sector. The authors conclude that additional networking groups could help foster greater connections between female researchers and the business community.

These articles and others by Toby Stuart are available through the TBED Resource Center at http://www.tbedresourcecenter.org.

The Kauffman Foundation awarded its inaugural Prize Medal last year to Professor Scott Stern of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. The medal was given in recognition of Stern's outstanding research on intellectual property issues in IP-rich fields, such as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Several of his articles also are available via the TBED Resource Center.

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