Updated Aug. 26, 2014 at 10:09 a.m.

UNC doubles tech licensing revenue to record $7.9M

Published: 2014-08-26 10:08:00
Updated: 2014-08-26 10:09:35

UNC Office of Technology Development

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Licensing technologies created at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill generated $7,932,921 in income for the university in fiscal year 2014, more than double the highest amount of royalty income Carolina has received in a single year.

The amount comes from licensing revenues by companies that use university-created technology and from the university’s sale of stock it holds in successful startups.

Until this year, the highest income it had ever received from technology was $3,927,300 in 2004.

“The university’s expanded focus on developing innovative technologies and new startups is making these revenues possible,” said UNC Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “UNC’s research helps drive the state’s economy, and we look forward to continuing the use of Carolina created technologies to support the growth of business in North Carolina and beyond.”

Since 1997, UNC Chapel Hill has generated $48.3 million in technology-license revenue and started 91 new technology-based businesses. The university has been awarded 791 patents and 1,573 foreign patents, has granted 857 technology licenses and has secured $35.7 million in patent reimbursements.

The UNC Office of Technology Development, working with partners at UNC’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and Carolina KickStart program, provides a suite of commercialization services to faculty that include evaluating, patenting, licensing and assisting in obtaining corporate sponsorships.

When the Office of Technology Development partners with a company, any income received through the commercial development of products and services is shared with the inventors and their departments. This relationship and the influx of income from licensing create a funding stream for additional research.

“We’ve made strategic investments in the Office of Technology Development to make it more efficient, effective and sustainable. These investments are paying off,” said Vice Chancellor for Research Barbara Entwisle. “This was our most profitable year for royalty income, and it lays a great foundation for future technology-commercialization success.”

Earlier this year, UNC Chapel Hill ceased charging overhead costs to inventors who win federal Phase I SBIR and STTR grants, making the university a more attractive home for researchers. The university also started a pilot program to award technology-enhancement grants to faculty who make promising discoveries but need proof-of-concept funds to demonstrate commercial potential.

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