As part of our ongoing profiles of TIM people, let us introduce Matt Marx, of the Questrom School of Business, at Boston University, in, you guessed it, Boston, MA, USA. Matt, so…

What are your research interests right now?

My focus is on innovation and entrepreneurship, both in terms of the commercialization of new discoveries and also the careers of the workers who bring those technologies to life. In a couple of papers I am using patent-to-article citations to track the utilization of scientific discoveries by both existing firms and startups, in hopes of establishing locational and structural factors that favors certain types of science. Of course, the goose that lays the golden goose of science is the scientists themselves, so I am also working to understand why the U.S. sees such high attrition among STEM students and what can be done about it.

What do you think is your most exciting contribution to academia?

To me, what’s most exciting is when research findings can impact the world beyond academia. I began studying employee non-compete agreements as a Ph.D student after having been blindsided with a 2-year non-compete at my first job. My field research and large-sample analyses have shown that these employment contracts favor established companies at the expense of workers as well as startups. Just last week the Massachusetts state legislature voted for non-compete reform that addresses issues raised by my research. Employers can no longer “ambush” workers with non-competes their first day on the job, nor can they attempt to see ex-employees who were laid off. College seniors have told me that they were asked to sign a 1-year non-compete for a 3-month summer internship, such that they couldn’t take a job in the same industry right after graduation—the new law bans this practice.

Tell us something personal about yourself.

Although I hardly have the physique of a Tour de France rider, I love cycling. It’s faster to bike to work into downtown Boston than to drive or take public transportation, so I do the 24-mile roundtrip commute on two wheels as often as I can. I’ve biked about 12,500 miles and hope to double that!

Thanks Matt!

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