Academic entrepreneurship in history. An international survey of current research

Academic entrepreneurship in history. An international survey of current research

Kenneth Bertrams (Université Libre de Bruxelles) Gabriel Galvez-Béhar (Université Lille 3) Anna Guagnini and Matteo Serafini (Università di Bologna) Joris Mercelis, Eric Vanhaute and Christophe Verbruggen (Universiteit Gent)
Vom - Bis
12.03.2015 - 13.03.2015
Joris Mercelis

The Departments of History of Universiteit Gent, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Université Lille 3 and Università di Bologna are jointly organizing the international conference "Academic entrepreneurship in history" on 12-13 March 2015 at the STAM city museum in Ghent, Belgium. The aim of the meeting is to bring together an international group of scholars engaged in research on the notion and practice of academic entrepreneurship from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. The focus will be on the range of actions, behaviors and qualities of academic scientists and their employing institutions which can be seen as entrepreneurial in at least one of the many senses in which the entrepreneurship term has been used in the economics and business history literatures. What we would like to discuss in a broad and comparative perspective is a) how entrepreneurial attitudes and practices coalesced and generated distinctive patterns of performance; b) in what relation these patterns stood to the changes that took place in different educational systems; c) how they were affected by economic, cultural, social, and political factors at multiple spatial levels; and d) how they evolved over time.

Invited papers:

The organizers welcome contributions from both junior and senior scholars. A limited number of papers will be selected on the basis of their relevance to the proposed themes. The aim is to include papers from various streams of research, focusing especially on the physical, life, and engineering sciences but also dealing with other subject areas. We strongly encourage proposals on one or more of the following topics:

1. Institutional entrepreneurship: the behavior of individual or groups of academic scientists (by which we mean the employees of institutions of higher education and research) as agents of innovation in the organization and development of academic institutions.

2. Commercial entrepreneurship: the engagement of academic scientists in commercial activity outside the context of academic institutions (consulting, contracting, patenting, setting up of business enterprises).

3. Entrepreneurial institutions: the involvement of institutions of higher education and research in providing services, expertise, and intellectual property to external customers (public and private) and the institutionalization of this type of activity.

4. Comparisons: changes in time and space and differences (or similarities) between disciplines and fields of activity.

5. Categories and concepts: the definition of typological and conceptual frameworks.

A more detailed outline of these themes is available in a draft document entitled "Academic entrepreneurship in history. A call for further research in a collaborative and comparative perspective." Prospective participants can obtain it from the Organizing Committee via e-mail at

Relevant dates:

The deadline for the submission of abstracts (maximum 400 words) and short CVs to is 31 October 2014. The notification of acceptance will be issued by 15 November 2014. Papers will be circulated to all participants approximately one month before the conference.

Participation and expenses:

Travel and accommodation expenses of all speakers will be covered. In the case of co-authored papers it will however not be possible to provide additional support.



Joris Mercelis

Department of History, Ghent University
St. Pietersnieuwstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium