Commercialization of Universities' Intellectual Property: Evaluating Productivity Based on Structure, Research Funding, and Entrepreneurial Aspirations




Prets, Richard A.

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Purpose The purpose of this journal-ready dissertation was to provide timely information to technology transfer professionals that may lead to more productive policies and practices in the commercialization of universities’ intellectual property. This investigation provided insights regarding the sources and the productivity of academic research funding. The characteristics and activities of highly performing Technology Transfer Offices were highlighted in this study. The final objective was to determine the effectiveness of industry-university commercial partnerships. Method This study was conducted with non-experimental. causal-comparative, and correlational research designs (Creswell. 2009). Data from the Association of University Technology Managers’ 2011, 2012. and recently released 2013 Licensing Activity Survey Questionnaires were obtained and analyzed through use of inferential statistical procedures. Respondents were technology transfer professionals and/or their designees. Findings Study one was conducted to identify differences between public and private universities in sourcing research funding and in achieving commercialization success. In this investigation, private universities were more adept at procuring federal research funding than public universities. In addition, private research universities had generated a greater amount of licensing income for each dollar of research expenditure. The second study was an investigation of the extent to which the licensing income of U.S. universities could be predicted by five questionnaire items (i.e., Number of Licensing Managers. Number of Licensing Agreements Executed. Number of U.S. Patents Issued. Total Research Expenditures, and Number of Start-Up Companies Initiated) chosen from the surveys. An All Possible Subsets regression analysis revealed that the Number of U.S. Patents Issued was the only statistically significant predictor of licensing income generated from universities' intellectual property for all three survey years analyzed in this investigation. In study three, universities that had accepted equity in start-up companies had statistically significantly higher licensing revenue, in all three years analyzed in this investigation, than universities that did not accept equity positions in start-up ventures. In addition, the number of universities that accepted equity positions in start-up companies increased in each of the three years analyzed in this investigation. However, cashed-in equity fell, as a percentage of total licensing revenue, for the universities that had accepted equity in start-up ventures.



Universities' Intellectual Property, Commercialization, Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property


Prets, Richard A., Commercialization of universities ’ intellectual property: Evaluating productivity based on structure, research funding, and entrepreneurial aspirations. Doctor of Education (Educational Leadership). December 2015, Sam Houston Slate University, Huntsville. Texas.