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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Science Policy

A Survey of the Barriers Associated with Academic-based Cancer Research Commercialization
Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Author: Nathan L. Vanderford et al.

by Nathan L. Vanderford, L. Todd Weiss, Heidi L. Weiss

Commercialization within the academic setting is associated with many challenges and barriers. Previous studies investigating these challenges/barriers have, in general, broadly focused on multiple disciplines and, oftentimes, several institutions simultaneously. The goal of the study presented here was to analyze a range of barriers that may be broadly associated with commercializing academic-based cancer research. This goal was addressed via a study of the barriers associated with cancer research commercialization at the University of Kentucky (UK). To this end, a research instrument in the form of an electronic survey was developed. General demographic information was collected on study participants and two research questions were addressed: 1) What are the general barriers inhibiting cancer research commercialization at UK? and 2) Would mitigation of the barriers potentially enhance faculty engagement in commercialization activities? Descriptive and statistical analysis of the data reveal that multiple barriers likely inhibit cancer research commercialization at UK with expense, time, infrastructure, and lack of industry partnerships being among the most commonly cited factors. The potential alleviation of these factors in addition to revised University policies/procedures, risk mitigation, more emphasis on commercialization by academia research field, and increased information on how to commercialize significantly correlated with the potential for increased commercialization activity. Furthermore, multivariate logistic regression modeling demonstrated that research commercialization would incrementally increase as barriers to the process are removed and that PhD-holding respondents and respondents in commercialization-supportive research fields would be more likely to commercialize their research upon barrier removal. Overall, as with other disciplines, these data suggest that for innovations derived from academic cancer-research to move more effectively and efficiently into the marketplace, university administrators and external agents, such as policymakers, need to address what are well-documented and defined issues.
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