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Engines of Innovation

The Entrepreneurial University in the Twenty-First Century

Holden Thorp and Buck Goldstein

Publication Year: 2013

In Engines of Innovation, Holden Thorp and Buck Goldstein make the case for the pivotal role of research universities as agents of societal change. They argue that universities must use their vast intellectual and financial resources to confront global challenges such as climate change, extreme poverty, childhood diseases, and an impending worldwide shortage of clean water. They provide not only an urgent call to action but also a practical guide for our nation's leading institutions to make the most of the opportunities available to be major players in solving the world's biggest problems.
A preface and a new chapter by the authors address recent developments, including innovative licensing strategies, developments in online education, and the value of arts and sciences in an entrepreneurial society.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v


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p. vii-vii

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Preface to the Second Edition

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pp. xi-xiv

The proverb “be careful what you wish for” applies to the events that followed the publication of the first edition of Engines of Innovation. It was our hope that a worldwide economic crisis would become an opportunity too important to miss and would give rise to innovative approaches to the world’s biggest problems, with America’s research ...

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pp. 1-8

We are not the first authors to be halfway through writing a book when the world changed. True, in the fall of 2008, Newtonian laws were not repealed (that took place during the Internet bubble), nor was a conclusive proof of Einstein’s general theory of relativity advanced. Still, the ...

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1. The Entrepreneurial Opportunity

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pp. 9-21

Events have conspired to place our great universities in an either enviable or terrifying position, depending on your point of view. They are collectively among the most affluent institutions in our society.¹ They are populated with the best minds in the world and have created a culture that ...

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2. Entrepreneurial Science

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pp. 22-37

At even the most traditional research universities, the science buildings stand out. They are bigger, newer, and bristling with technology. These modern temples are often designed to blend modestly with older campus architecture only to betray their purpose with complex air-handling systems ...

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3. Enterprise Creation

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pp. 38-52

Enter the office of a university president and you see the portrait of the founder, perhaps a framed degree, sports mementos, and some photographs of the current occupant with a Nobel Prize winner or U.S. president. In addition to a large desk and a flat-screen computer terminal, ...

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4. Social Entrepreneurship

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pp. 53-67

Social entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful and important ideas to emerge in our society in recent years, and it is having a dramatic impact on every major university. A decade ago, the term was known only to a few theoreticians and isolated groups of enlightened idealists; just ...

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5. Multidisciplinary Centers

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pp. 68-84

Making connections, encouraging conversations, and collaborating are essential elements of entrepreneurship, and, increasingly, those activities have become critical to the work of a research university in addressing the grand challenges facing the world. The good news is that there is ...

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6. Leadership

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pp. 85-96

As we’ve said, innovation begins with entrepreneurial thinking, and more often than not such thinking starts with an individual and not a committee or task force. For universities to become the engines of innovation we envision, a unique brand of leadership is required, and it ...

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7. Academic Roles

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pp. 97-105

In a nation in which many work into their late sixties and a newly minted Ph.D. is usually close to thirty, academics can expect a forty-year career. Traditionally, they know what to expect from the outset: a career of research and teaching, publishing in academic journals and books, writing grant ...

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8. Culture and Structure

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pp. 106-117

Inside academia, it’s hard to talk about the university’s impact on the world’s great problems without getting immersed in a conversation about faculty rewards and university structure. Discussions about enterprise creation or entrepreneurship in the university can quickly become debates ...

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9. Teaching Entrepreneurship

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pp. 118-132

We are often met with skepticism, especially from entrepreneurs, when we tell people that we teach entrepreneurship in a university. Many entrepreneurs contend that “entrepreneurs are born and not made” and that entrepreneurship is not teachable. Our first response to this skepticism ...

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10. Accountability

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pp. 133-140

The call comes from the chairman of the board, the CEO of the company, or the biggest contributor to a project. The question is always the same: “How are we doing?” At times in our careers we had a simple response. We pulled up a “dashboard” or set of metrics that were updated daily ...

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11. The New Donors and University Development

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pp. 141-150

A new breed of donors, both large and small, and the philanthropic institutions they have created and influence are exactly the constituency that is most attracted to our vision of the university as an engine of innovation, attacking the world’s biggest problems with an entrepreneurial ...

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pp. 151-154

The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, “Universities create the future”; and Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard, explained that they do so “in two fundamental ways: by educating those to whom the future belongs, and by generating the ideas and discoveries that can transform the present and build a better world.”¹ Despite unprecedented challenges we remain enthusiastic about the role of research universities at this moment in history—perhaps ...

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Engines Revisited—A Three-Year Tune-Up

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pp. 155-162

The dialogue surrounding Engines of Innovation began in Chapel Hill with a daylong, campus-wide symposium in October of 2010, attended by roughly 100 faculty members from throughout our university. The discussion continued in a variety of academic and nonacademic settings and in large groups and small, as well as in the local and national media. From CNBC to a panel at the German Embassy in Washington, ...


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pp. 163-168

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pp. 169-170

Of course we said yes when our friend and editor David Perry asked us to consider writing a book about innovation and entrepreneurship in the research university. Suffice it to say we didn’t know exactly what we were getting into, and being entrepreneurs at heart we assumed it was just another problem to solve. Once the complexity of the task became clear, though, we did what we ...


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pp. 171-178

E-ISBN-13: 9781469612737
E-ISBN-10: 1469612739
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469609843
Print-ISBN-10: 1469609843

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013