Skip to main content

Black History Month: Select Books 30% Off

Harvard University Press - home
Tapping the Riches of Science

Tapping the Riches of Science

Universities and the Promise of Economic Growth

Roger L. Geiger, Creso M. Sá

ISBN 9780674031289

Publication date: 01/15/2009

Can university-based scientific research contribute to the economic development of a region? Can it generate wealth for the university? American universities are under increasing pressure to maximize their economic contributions. Tapping the Riches of Science offers a rigorous and far-sighted explanation of this controversial and little-understood movement.

Just how do universities contribute to innovation in industry? How have state legislatures promoted local university commitments to economic relevance? And how has the pressure to be economically productive affected the core academic missions of teaching and research? Drawing from a range of social science analyses, campus interviews, and examples of university-industry partnerships, Roger Geiger and Creso Sá reveal the ways that economic development has been incorporated into university commitments.

Noting enduring cultural differences between the academic and business worlds, Geiger and Sá deflate both suspicious and overconfident views. They show how elusive success can be for embryonic discoveries with as-yet-unclear applications. Warning against promising—and expecting—too much, Tapping the Riches of Science nonetheless makes a strong case for the long-term promise of practical uses for academic research.


  • An outstanding guide to the new 'fourth mission' of universities: expanding science and engineering for the sake of economic growth. Geiger and Sa give a one-book bird's-eye view of the much-praised and much-criticized programs (and new layers of administration) aimed at encouraging patents, technology transfer, company spin-offs, and corporate partnerships. They see potential in this 'fourth mission,' but warn its boosters just how difficult it is to make real money from academic research.

    —Daniel S. Greenberg, author of Science for Sale: The Perils, Rewards, and Delusions of Campus Capitalism


  • Roger L. Geiger is Distinguished Professor of Education at Pennsylvania State University and Professor in Charge of the Higher Education Program.
  • Creso M. Sá is Assistant Professor in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Book Details

  • 262 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press