It's been around since 1980, when the federal government passed the Bayh-Dole Act and made it possible for universities (and nonprofits and private corporations) to own intellectual property rights to federally-funded research. What universities do with those rights is what is continually up for discussion. And that's mostly because universities are best at education, not launching businesses.
Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina Office of Science & Technology are tackling this challenge head on. One of four priorities of his Innovation-to-Jobs Working Group is to increase licensing revenue, startup creation and investor opportunity at the state's educational institutions.
To help understand the opportunity that exists, the team wants your help. If you've had any involvement in research or innovation at local universities, consider filling out this 15-minute survey. The specific request is for your opinion about how well NC's universities perform in commercialization activities (i.e., creation and support of startup companies as investment opportunities; licensing innovations to existing businesses or startups).
The office's director told me last month that the group would consider whether to propose legislation to aid the state's commercialization efforts. But first, a full investigation of the process so far and the potential opportunities that exist.
Here's a quick roundup of the commercialization efforts at (two of the three) major universities in this region:
Stats the UNC Office of Technology Development
Stats from the NCSU Office of Technology Transfer
Again, the survey link is here. The deadline is this Friday.