Technology Transfer Streamlining

With the pace of innovation moving faster than ever before, slow-moving technology transfer offices can drive away promising researchers, and hinder the ability of campus researchers to bring their ideas to the marketplace. Many universities are revamping their technology transfer offices in order to help technologies developed in-state commercialize as rapidly as possible. To encourage this transition, policymakers could challenge all universities within the state to streamline their technology transfer offices. Providing standardized licensing agreements would allow inventors to bring new technologies to the market as quickly as possible, which would attract researchers and businesses to the state and create jobs. The University of Michigan created a standardized licensing and revenue sharing agreement, allocating earnings to inventors, the inventor’s department (and school or college), and the central campus administration based on revenue tiers. In 2014 alone, the university’s Technology Transfer Office generated 148 license/option agreements, issued 132 patents, launched fourteen startups, and generated $18.5 million in revenue. Since 2001, the office has brought approximately $230 million in revenue and helped create more than 2,000 jobs. Removing barriers to commercialization will send a signal to businesses and researchers that the state is committed to cutting-edge research that can create jobs.