Friday, November 9, 2007

Pigskin + Patents

The business column in the Orlando Sentinel today tackles a similar topic to the previous post. In the column, Beth Kassab sets up an interesting financial benefit comparison between athletics and scientific innovation at public universities, noting the greater return from science and technology spin-offs. Below are excerpts from that column:

At UF, license and royalty agreements from science and other inventions total about $43 million a year. At UCF that number is $1.2 million.

Its current $1.2 million in licenses and royalties is far below the estimated $3 million average for a university its size, but the figure has grown more than 600 percent from $170,000 in just the past two years.

Today UCF will host its fourth annual "Invention to Venture" workshop, aimed at helping professors and students connect with entrepreneurs and investors to turn research into business.

UCF is on the cusp of quietly attracting major investor activity, even as its football team and new home stadium are attracting more fans.

All that is generally good news, though it does make clear the significant strides we still have to make to just get onto the true science and technology playing field. It also – again – begs the question as to how we should best position Orlando to retain these companies, their founders and the workforce associated with them after they exit the university environment. The creative village isn’t the singular answer, but it’s certainly a key element.

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