Think universities are making lots of money from inventions? Think again.Historians in the News
tags: universities, academia, funding
Universities and colleges spun off 11,000 start-ups between 1996 and 2015 — an average of less than 600 per year — according to the Association of University Technology Managers, whose members oversee what is known as technology transfer. That’s one-tenth of 1 percent of the roughly 400,000 annual start-ups reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“It has almost become de rigueur among chancellors and presidents in selling the value of their universities to the larger community to say that we are engines of economic development, and there’s scant evidence to support that,” said Marc Levine, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee who has studied this subject.
Now, some institutions are redoubling their efforts to smooth the way for their discoveries to be shared and sold.
That’s increasingly important, and not only because universities and colleges are facing state budget cuts, enrollment declines and other financial challenges. The federal portion of funding for university research has also been steadily declining, forcing institutions to look for other sources of support. And money that comes from licensing typically goes back into the research budget.
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