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APLU Report Calls on Universities to Evolve Tech Transfer Practices to Maximize Impact

Washington, DC – Public universities have made key strides in evolving their technology transfer activities, but must take additional steps to address the demands of the innovation economy, according to a new report the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) released today.

APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity produced the report to help public research universities evolve toward more comprehensive technology transfer efforts. The report, Technology Transfer Evolution: Driving Economic Prosperity, calls on universities to accelerate their transition to a technology transfer model that reflects a broader engagement in economic development, and that connects to and supports the learning and discovery missions of universities.

“In a knowledge-based economy, it’s more important than ever for public universities to engage their technology transfer efforts as part of their broader mission to drive prosperity,” said APLU President McPherson. “Institutions should continue to redefine expectations for their technology transfer offices, and connect them with other aspects of industry and entrepreneurial partnerships. Technology transfer must serve help institutions’ broader strategic goals.”

The report finds public research universities are moving beyond a transactional, revenue-driven technology approach. They are increasingly important drivers in regional and national innovation ecosystems, educating high-skilled graduates who produce the ideas and deliver services that drive the innovation economy.

The report identifies four guideposts for institutions aiming to evolve their technology transfer activities:

  • Success in technology transfer should not be measured by revenue, but by contributions to economic prosperity;
  • Technology transfer must better integrate and align with the broader economic engagement efforts of the university;
  • Strategic resource allocation for technology transfer, including funding and staffing, must take into account a broader scope of activities and expectations; and
  • The economic engagement story must be made more explicit.

APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) produced the report at the direction of University of California, San Diego Chancellor and outgoing CICEP Chair Pradeep Khosla.

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