University Research and Commercial Use

#Applied Relativity, #TECH9
You ivory tower intellectuals must not lose touch with the world of industrial growth and hard currency. It is all very well and good to pursue these high-minded scientific theories, but research grants are expensive and you must justify your existence by providing not only knowledge, but concrete and profitable applications as well.
CEO Nwabudike Morgan, «The Ethics of Greed» in Alpha Centauri

A while ago I listened in on a conversation on how to license a product that was developed at a university. Someone mentioned that to prevent technology developed for civilian purposes being used for military ones (dual use), they could prohibit commercial use altogether.

Besides being an overkill, I do not understand either attempt.

Regarding military use, why shouldn’t it be used by the military? Unless you live in a military dictatorship, the military does not start wars. Politicians do. In democracies, at least in principle, the people give politicians the mandate to do so. So, why hurt the military? Also, most countries do not start wars, they are attacked by aggressive nations. They need to defend themselves. So again, why hurt the military? It’s also naive to assume useful technology is not used, license or not, when a nation is at war, especially if it fights for its continued existence.

Regarding commercial use, who pay for the universities? Mostly taxes. At least in Germany. I am not talking about Ivy League universities that have more money than some countries. Who pays them? Well, businesses do pay a lot. So why not allow them to make money with the products of universities? Businesses might still have to pay a license fee, but they should not be prohibited from using it.

Another issue is that some entities work for the common good, but are not non-profit, would be excluded as well. That might also apply to private universities.

Of course, all this requires that the product is actually useful. How as it …

A group of engineering students and their teacher were given free airplane tickets to go on a holiday. Once on the plane, the captain announced that they were on the plane the students had built. Everyone freaked and rushed out of the plane, except for the teacher who stayed there with calm. When the flight attendant asked why he hadn’t left, he responded:
«I know the abilities of my students. This shit won’t even start».
source unknown