UCL School of Management

Research project

Universities as engines of technological change


This project examines the history of the biomedical sciences at Silicon Valley research universities (UC Berkeley, UCSF, Stanford) and their role in the development of the biotechnology industry. The project highlights how the organizational environment of “founding laboratories” determines the success of spin-off firms, and demonstrates how technologically disruptive spin-off firms often emerge from labs that are embedded in collaborative scholarly networks organised around clinically relevant research themes. I also show how major organisational initiatives at San Francisco universities of the past decades were shaped by the industrial R&D experiences of those academics who led these initiatives.


Universities are increasingly seen as a key driver of economic growth and innovation in contemporary societies. My research provides tools and frameworks that help stakeholders leverage university scholarship in strengthening the competitiveness of regional and national knowledge-based economies. I am regularly invited to present my work at meetings of stakeholders with an interest in fostering university entrepreneurship, such as at a recent Science Business meeting at the offices of the European Commission in Brussels, and as a keynote speaker at the Healthcluster Portugal meeting in Lisbon.  

Selected publications

Jong, S. (2008). Academic organizations and new industrial fields; Berkeley and Stanford after the rise of biotechnology. Research Policy, 37 (8), 1267-1282. doi:10.1016/j.respol.2008.05.001 [link]
Jong, S., & Marston, L. (2012). After the life sciences strategy: managing science-based R&D collaborations. London, UK: UCL/NESTA.
Wong, S. C. K., Sasportas, L. S., Richardson, K., Gordon, B. R., Jayatunga, M. K. P., Shalizi, A., . . . Perez, D. A. (2015). Keys to the kingdom. NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, 33 (3), 232-236. doi:10.1038/nbt.3159 [link]

Link to the publication’s UCL Discovery page

Last updated Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Research groups

Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Research areas

Organization theory; Strategic management

Research topics

Management of science; Management of technology; Management of innovation; Organisational adaptation; Organisational design; Organization development; Organization of knowledge; Performance; Entrepreneurship; Economic sociology; Institutional logics; Inter-organizational networks; Interdisciplinarity