Government Policy, University Strategy and the Academic Entrepreneur: The Case of Queensland's Smart State Institutes
19 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 21, 2012
Significant new university initiatives are usually analysed from the perspectives of government policy, university strategy or the entrepreneurship of particular individuals, but rarely from the view of their interdependencies. This paper reports on the creation of four Smart State Institutes at the University of Queensland in Australia and the concatenation of circumstances, decisions and actions that led to their formation. In the course of just over a decade, these Institutes, addressing biotechnology, nanotechnology, neuroscience and the molecular and cellular basis of disease, have developed into a cluster of scientific research of global significance, raising over $1 billion in investment and employing 1300 staff.
A case study approach was employed in the analysis, involving 59 semi-structured interviews with key individuals involved at the organisational, regional and national levels. A range of archival data were collected and analysed to help construct a rigorous chronology of the key events, reports and actions that led to the development of the Institutes.
Our research identifies the importance of the policy context, at both the Federal and State levels, conducive to the investment in the new Institutes. It shows how the University’s leadership and strategy took advantage of policy conditions, with a number of individual academic entrepreneurs providing the actions necessary to shape and guide the creation of the Institutes. Private philanthropy played a crucial role as animateur amongst the contributors. We argue the importance of the mutually reinforcing and concurrent contribution of all these actors and draw lessons for future government and university policy.
Keywords: Universities, Science, Policy, Entrepreneurship, Philanthropy
JEL Classification: I23, L26, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation