From Bench to Board: Gender Differences in University Scientists’ Participation in Commercial Science

49 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2010 Last revised: 30 Mar 2013

See all articles by Waverly W. Ding

Waverly W. Ding

University of Maryland - R.H. Smith School of Business

Fiona Murray

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center

Toby Stuart

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Date Written: August 13, 2010

Abstract

This paper examines gender differences in the participation of university life science faculty in commercial science. Based on theory and field interviews, we develop hypotheses regarding how scientists’ productivity, co-authorship networks, and institutional affiliations have different effects on whether male and female faculty become “academic entrepreneurs.” We then statistically examine this framework in a national sample of 6,000 life scientists whose careers span more than 20 years. We find sharp gender differences in participation in for-profit ventures, which we measure as the likelihood of joining the scientific advisory board (SAB) of a biotechnology firm. Compared to men, women life scientists are much less likely to advise for-profit biotechnology companies. We also identify factors that contour this gender difference, including scientists’ co-authorship network structure and the level of support for commercial science at their universities. Surprisingly, we find that the (conditional) gender gap is largest among faculty members at the highest status institutions.

Suggested Citation

Ding, Waverly W. and Murray, Fiona E. and Stuart, Toby E., From Bench to Board: Gender Differences in University Scientists’ Participation in Commercial Science (August 13, 2010). Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Working Paper No. 11-014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1658475 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1658475

Waverly W. Ding

University of Maryland - R.H. Smith School of Business ( email )

United States
301-405-1381 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/management/faculty/ding.aspx

Fiona E. Murray

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center ( email )

United States

Toby E. Stuart (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

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