Regents hold first public meeting on commercialization at UTWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The first public meeting to present the plans for “Advancing Ohio’s Innovative Economy” was held Aug. 22 at the University of Toledo.
Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro came to Toledo for the first presentation on the findings of the Ohio Higher Ed Technology Transfer and Commercialization Task Force.
“We need to advance higher education in Ohio, get more people to earn degrees to help build the economy and our future. Commercialization must be part of the agenda to bring jobs to Ohio and create jobs here,” said Petro.
The Ohio Board of Regents’ Fifth Report on Higher Education makes recommendations on the steps Ohio needs to take to build and sustain a world-class commercialization infrastructure capable of competing on a global scale.
“Implementation of the recommendations will be a daunting task, and Ohio is the first state to undertake it,” Petro said.
UT President Lloyd Jacobs, a member of the task force, delivered the opening remarks at Doermann Theater in University Hall with approximately 100 faculty, students, business and civic leaders in attendance.
“This is a time for change in our state. We need leaders like Dr. Jacobs to help make it happen,” said Vinny Gupta, a regent and chairman of the Commercialization Task Force of 34 members from around the state.
“The number of people present shows the support we’re looking to get, not just quantity but quality people here,” Gupta said.
“We’re here to celebrate the convergence of universities with corporate America,” Jacobs said.
He pointed out that UT strives to provide an environment for innovation and cited Rocket Ventures, a partnership between UT and the Regional Growth Partnership. Rocket Ventures helps to fund and support start-up companies that are bringing innovative technology to the marketplace.
“Toledo is a university town. The role of the university will continue to broaden in the 21st century. The report is about sustainability. A sustainable world requires innovation,” Jacobs said.
One of the goals of the task force is to define economic opportunities for the university system in Ohio, which Gupta acclaimed as the largest in the country, through improvement and acceleration of commercialization and technology transfer. Another goal is to identify barriers to accelerating commercialization.
A third goal is to develop strategies for improving collaboration among higher education, industry and policy makers. The fourth goal is to identify systemic strategies for creating and sustaining a comprehensive commercialization ecosystem in Ohio.
Gupta said the task force looks to determine how it can serve the interests of higher education and the interests of industry.
“How can we provide incentives to help us get the commercialization system moving in the right direction to achieve those goals,” Gupta asked on behalf of the task force.
The primary charge of the task force is to guide the regents in identification and analysis of issues and data needed to successfully achieve the goals. Gupta said that the regents have asked the task force to remain intact and meet every three months.
The first step in the implementation process is to continue the dialogue with Ohio stakeholders by communicating clearly what’s in the task force’s recommendations.
More details on the task force’s recommendations for implementation of its plans will be compiled by Sept. 30, following additional presentations of the report around the state, according to Gupta.
Toledo City Councilman D. Michael Collins reminded the regents that it’s going to take funding from the State of Ohio to implement the plan and achieve the goals of the task force.
“We need to capitalize on ideas now without state funds,” Petro said.
“The state doesn’t have the money so we need to find more creative ways to fund commercialization,” Gupta said.
Ford Cauffiel, an 82-year-old native of Toledo, said college professors should come out and see what entrepreneurs of Toledo have accomplished. Cauffiel is an entrepreneur, inventor and industrialist who founded and operated Cauffiel Technologies Corp. in Toledo.
“Many venture capitalists told me that professors and entrepreneurs are different animals and think differently, so I think it is important to have a program to help create more entrepreneurial faculty researchers,” said Xunming Deng, former president and CEO of Xunlight, a company he founded based on photovoltaic research he conducted at UT. He has returned to teach full time at the university.
Technology Transfer Office helps get ideas from classroom to marketplace
UT’s Technology Transfer Office is committed to developing and fostering relationships with industry to transfer UT discoveries and innovations to the marketplace.
The tech transfer staff works with faculty, staff and students when they develop a platform technology that can serve as the basis for a university spin-off business.
UT has initiated a “lab-to-launch” system to encourage and enable faculty start-up businesses, which can contribute to regional economic development.
The Tech Transfer team had one of its best years in fiscal 2011, according to its annual report for last year. It continues to be nationally ranked in key performance criteria, stated the report.
Last year, UT collected $1.2 million in licensing revenues and now has more than $5.5 million in equity. UT currently has 167 issued patents, 450 pending patents and entered into 16 new license agreements.
UT’s 13 start-up businesses have shared in excess of $85 million in venture funding and have created more than 100 new positions. It licensed intellectual properties to two new start-up businesses in 2011.
AccuGenomics LLC provides gene expression tests that can accurately diagnose, monitor and direct cancer treatment.
Excellent Energy Solutions is developing a proprietary flywheel energy storage system that may be used for distributed or centralized energy management for sources including NASA.
Stephen Snider, former associate and general counsel and director of technology licensing, was named assistant vice president of Tech Transfer at UT.
Tags: AccuGenomics LLC, D. Michael Collins, Excellent Energy Solutions, Ford Cauffiel, Jim Petro, Lloyd Jacobs, Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio Higher Ed Technology Transfer and Commercialization Task Force, Regional Growth Partnership, Rocket Ventures, Stephen Snider, Technology Transfer Office, University of Toledo, Vinny Gupta, Xunming Deng