Each fall, we look forward to the Highlights report of the AUTM Licensing Activity Survey results as a barometer of the health of the tech transfer field. We’re pleased to announce that this year’s data confirm that academic technology transfer activity in the U.S. is robust and growing.
The FY2014 data indicate an amazing 34 percent year-to-year rise in the number of new commercial products, alongside a 23 percent increase in net product sales by licensees. The 914 new startups based on university-generated technology represent a solid 12 percent jump over the previous year. And the 6,363 new U.S. patents granted show a remarkable 11.3 percent annual increase. These results, along with other findings detailed in the Highlights report, demonstrate the extent of academic technology transfer’s role in bolstering the American economy and quality of life.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. Federal research funding once again declined, dropping 5 percent with no comparable increase in private funding sources. While research institutions are diligently pursuing other sources of funding, this ongoing drop in federal support represents a clear threat to the health of an industry that has proven its value year after year since 1980. But even with this cloud on the horizon, the state of our industry in 2014 is thriving.
—Fred Reinhart, President, Board of Directors, Association of University Technology Managers