A record-breaking year for U-M Tech Transfer

October 6, 2014
Contact: Greta Guest gguest@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Fiscal year 2014 was a record-breaking year of tech transfer performance at the University of Michigan as reflected in the number of new inventions, agreements and startups launched—all derived from U-M research discoveries.

Researchers reported 439 new inventions in FY 2014, up from last year’s 421, demonstrating the growing participation and success of U-M faculty in tech transfer activities. U-M Tech Transfer also recorded 148 option and license agreements compared to 108 agreements a year ago. In addition, U-M Tech Transfer launched 14 startups, bringing the number of businesses launched in the last five years to 55.

“It is gratifying to see these record-setting metrics for, not just one, but several indicators of tech transfer performance,” said Ken Nisbet, associate vice president for research–technology transfer. “This is a reflection of the creativity of our researchers, the resourcefulness of our tech transfer team, and the contributions from our partners in the university, business, government and entrepreneurial communities.”

The record number of agreements this year is significant as it represents an increase in engagement with companies large and small that find value in technology coming out of U-M research, Nisbet said.

For example, Wilson Sporting Goods Co., licensed wireless motion sensor technology for sports equipment, and Michigan Aerospace licensed technology that can be used to predict ice formation for airborne and ground applications.

U-M startups are launched with the guidance and resources of Tech Transfer’s Venture Center. The Venture Center is a one-stop hub for entrepreneurs and investors looking for startup opportunities based on U-M research.

This year’s startups include Mia Motors, which makes energy storage and wireless charging systems for electric vehicles; ONL Therapeutics, which is developing therapeutics for retinal diseases; and Court Innovations, creator of online guided negotiations between courts and citizens.

In FY 2014, 132 U.S patents were issued to the university, up from 128 in FY 2013, and $18.5 million in licensing revenues were received, up from $14.4 million in the last fiscal year, thereby providing funds to reinvest in research and innovation.

“With more than $1.3 billion in research expenditures annually, U-M is one of the world’s leading research universities,” said S. Jack Hu, U-M’s interim vice president for research. “These results in technology transfer highlight not only the growing productivity of our faculty in generating innovative ideas through their research, but also our ongoing commitment to making sure that these ideas will benefit our state and nation in the form of new or better products, processes and services.”

The university will recognize the accomplishments of faculty and researchers engaged in the technology transfer process at the 14th annual Celebrate Invention reception at 3 p.m. Oct. 28. Kiosks representing the vast range of innovation and entrepreneurship from U-M Tech Transfer activities will be on display at the event, to be held at the U-M Michigan League Ballroom. Admission is free but registration is required at www.techtransfer.umich.edu/registration.


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