The second meeting of the Desk of Social Studies of Science, University, Technology and Innovation on “A Review of the Commercialization of Science and the University in Iran” was held at NRISP on Monday 26th.Feb., 2018. At this meeting, Dr. Mahmoud Farasatkhah and Dr. Gholamreza Zakersalahi Associate Professors of the Institute of Research and Planning in Higher Education, and Dr. Mohammadamin Ghaneirad, Director of Science and Society Department at NRISP gave lectures.
Created procedures for choosing the priority between commercialization and science
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Farasatkhah pointed out that currently the choice between commercialization and business, science and academic activities, as two separate categories, has become a dilemma and a controversy. He said; this issue is the source of other dilemmas in our society that affects national paces, policies, and economic and scientific activities. He added that the selection of the importance and preference of market interest or scientific truth, efficiency or originality, the value of the use or value of exploration, and prosperity or liberation, are some of these dilemmas. In this case, one of the procedures that is being created is the Win-Lose Game in which either the university is under the market and the concept of corporate business is formed or business collapses in academic frameworks.
He called the second procedure “A Cold War”, and stated: "This state of affairs reflects the status of our current society, which has become a tedious game between university and business."
Dr. Farasatkhah explained about the other procedures: I call the third one “A Cold Peace”, in the sense that an unproductive division of labor is formed, in which every economic and scientific activity goes its own way.
In the fourth or "Play-in-Turn", politics determines the priority between the two, and in the fifth or "Myth of the Invisible Hand", the determination of the importance of these two categories is left to the social choice and the market, which somehow erases the problem's face.
He then called the "Peace and Creative Co-existence" procedure a meaningful, sensible and useful procedure, adding that "between economic paradigms and academic paradigms”, the Win-Win Game will be created by keeping separate realms and rules".
The need to preserve the spirit of the university in commercialization
Dr. Zakersalehi paid attention to the commercialization of the university and gave a separate definition of the university and commercialization and said; with the humanities perspective, the university is not just an establishment that emphasizes on technical functions, it is responsible for education, research and social services. The normative functions are the transitional and liberal aspects of the university, which makes sense. In other words, the main nature of the university and its co-values, namely, rationality, scientific freedom, morality and spirituality, and love of knowledge, are considered as the four pillars of the university's wisdom.
He added that commercialization is being debated when accompanied by co-values of the university, otherwise education and commercialization may not be too critical. Commercialization is also a process in which ideas and results derived from academic activities turn into marketable products and services. Given the wide range of commercialization from ideas to products, finding the position of the university is important in this area.
Dr. Zakersalehi pointed to the commercialization mechanisms and said; in addition to changing the university's face, commercialization can also change its spirit, as in commercialization, there are financial, managerial and legal mechanisms, structural reforms, education and research, as well as design and process deployment.
Investigating commercialization opportunities in Iran
Dr. Ghaneirad, as the last speaker of the meeting stated; first of all we should ask whether or not commercialization in Iran is possible and in the next step to address its consequences. He said: taking into account all the activities that are being done today, commercialization does not take place in practice. He commented on the sociological reasons that commercialization does not take place in the country and stated; it’s because the knowledge-power means for the commercialization of knowledge is not available. In this case, the university institution has a small place that is not expected to succeed in pursuing commercialization. In fact we need a wider system, such as a knowledge system or a knowledge plan.
He added: "based on this system or plan, any knowledge that is produced is located alongside other knowledge and, as a result of their integration, a whole is created; in other words, this knowledge plan is integrating and integrated, and the social sciences and technology are its important components.
At the end of his speech, referring to the barriers to commercialization in Iran, he said: commercialization in Iran is not possible because; 1. we have different and heterogeneous coding on the scientific disciplines, or in other words, there is no knowledge of the integrator. 2. contradictory organizational coding that have caused engineering, medical or agricultural disciplines to be separate from organizations, and this has led to the backwardness of knowledge and commercialization in our country.