Original article: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/mass-high-tech/2009/03/umass-funding-drives-rd-from-bench-to-market.html
Boston Business Journal
Mar 26, 2009, 4:40pm EDT
As part of a series of funds aimed at helping to get university research out of the lab and into the commercial sector, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has announced this year’s Commercial Ventures & Intellectual Property (CVIP) Technology Development Fund awardees.
Under the program, seven university researchers will receive $25,000 each to continue their work, with an end goal of commercialization. This year, research projects run a gamut, from metallic inks for flexible electronics to new methods of delivering medicine for colon-related ailments.
In all, $175,000 was awarded.
The CVIP Fund, launched in 2004 by Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts system, has issued a total of 41 awards to faculty across the university’s five campuses. According to officials, those awards have generated $3 million in licensing fees and other revenue that has been reinvested in the fund.
In 1997, the school made a concerted effort to focus more resources on internal innovation. Over that time, officials have launched four separate fund programs, including the CVIP, which have bolstered the schools licensing revenue, pushing it from $829,000 in 1997 to $41 million in 2007. Last year, the licensing revenue slipped slightly to $37.7 million.
The growth is inching UMass closer to one of its local rivals, MIT, which generated $61.6 million in licensing revenue in 2007, but the university still has a long way to go to reach some of the national leaders, such as New York University ($791 million) and Columbia University ($136 million), according to the Association of University Technology Managers’ annual report for 2007.
While all four funds are aimed at spurring innovation, the CVIP fund in particular is aimed at commercialization, said Wilson.
“The CVIP fund helps get projects across that well-known funding cavern between the lab and commercialization,” he said.
That type of funding is particularly important during a down economy, according to Linda Plano, associate director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center.
“Technology transfer enables the leveraging of billions of dollars of federal and state grant money to develop new businesses and jobs,” she said. “Investment money is very difficult to raise in a down economy, so the ability to avoid capital costs, minimize development time and risk, and negotiate terms can enable a new product or company that otherwise might not be possible.”