How To Become A Commercially Successful Academic (Part 2)

By: Olumuyiwa Oludayo, Ph.D 

Continued from Yesterday

In this article, Dr. Olumuyiwa Oludayo tried to establish the source of wealth linked to academics and seek to use this as a source of inspiration to those pursuing academic careers.

  1. LICENSING INVENTIONS AND INNOVATIONS. The world has seen the birth of many products and services that have significantly altered the way we live and conduct our affairs. While a number of these innovations have come from both the academia and the business community, many academics are yet to understand the economic value that lies in their inventions if properly integrated into the daily affairs of people. There are many challenges that we all as human beings are faced with today and quite a number of academics are poised to provide solutions to these things without comprehending the readiness of the society to pay for their findings. Solutions are needed in health, agriculture, manufacturing, science and engineering fields amongst others. However, there are a number of academics that have benefitted from the commercial power of their research inventions and innovative discoveries. Robert Langer is a name famous with scholars in biomedical and chemical engineering today. Langer, a David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT is one of those that have reaped from the commercial and economic capacities of his inventions. With over 1000 patents in the medical and engineering fields of human endeavour, Langer’s lab has incubated over 40 companies. Another beneficiary of commercial licensing of inventions is Adi Shamir. His patents on the RSA Algorithm, Feige-Fiat-Shamir identification scheme and a variety of digital signatures and voting systems have earned him huge amounts of money going into billions of dollars in the past few decades. A major beneficiary of the economic capacity of his inventions is his alma mater, the Weizmann Institute who also has earned a lot of money in royalty payments.
  2. CONSULTANCY. The knowledge that academics possess is a commodity that can be monetised. An academic serving as a consultant seeks a practice where he can give expert advice within an area of proficiency. There are many academics that have become partners in consulting firms where they offer their expertise for a fee or a share of profit. One of the richest academics in the US is Dr. Dean Takahashi. In 2014 he was valued at $2.6million. His trajectory showed that he took a two-month leave from Yale University to serve in the U.S. Department of Treasury (Office of Domestic Finance). Today he sits as a Senior Director of the Yale Investments Office where he has responsibilities spanning asset allocation and policy development and implementation for the University. Academics that serve as consultants are known to carve a niche for themselves. They are experts in their fields and are prominent for their research findings that have business impact. Academics who will serve as great consultants must also leverage on creating a digital footprint. This serves as a landing page for content and contact. Academics can also consult for emerging institutions particularly in the area of curriculum development and organizational design.

           Also Read: How To Become A Commercially Successful Academic (Part 1)                    

  1. AUTHORSHIP. The commodity of trade for academics is knowledge thus becoming wealthy is largely about how to create platforms where the knowledge they possess can be commercialised. Publishing books and learning resources is another major source of income for academics. The earnings can come as royalties or outright revenues from the number of resources sold. There are resounding examples as to the worth of learning resources on the economic wellbeing of academics. James Stewart is a household name when it comes to the subject of calculus. The man Stewart is popular for his books that were adopted at both secondary school and higher education institutions. The sales of his books impacted his wealth status. This is validated by a $24million mansion he built in the early 2000s. Another reknown academic is Stephen Hawking. His popularity also draws largely from his books one of which was a bestseller, A Brief History of Time. Hawking’s worth at the time of retirement was said to be in the region of $20million. Other beneficiaries of the impact of learning resources on personal wealth include Dr. Philip Kotler whose books in Marketing got over 7 translations because of the need and widespread acceptance of the insight it possessed. In modern times, we talk about Authors like Dave Ulrich and Michael Armstrong who have given their expertise in books and earned a great amount of wealth from it.

Read the Concluding Part Tomorrow

(Visited 66 times, 1 visits today)