Little is known about the form and or magnitude of compensation provided university-based scientists working on firm R&D. This is unfortunate, given the important role that university-based scientists play in R&D, and the growing literature concerning compensation and innovation. This paper sheds some light on these issues by examining the compensation of university-based scientists involved with 52 biotech firms that made an initial public offering between March of 1990 and November of 1992. Although the stock holdings of the university scientists are of particular interest, additional forms of compensation received by the scientists are also examined.
We find that approximately 10 percent of the university-based scientists affiliated with these companies hold sufficient options or stock to require disclosure at the time of the public offering. A far larger proportion has an equity position in the firm. In many instances the scientists also receive consulting fees or salary from the firm and enter into licensing agreements with the firm. In addition to providing information concerning the compensation of university-based scientists, the empirical work suggests that the rewards to science can be significantly greater than previous work would suggest.