By Vivek Wadhwa

Editor’s note: Editor’s note: is senior research associate at the Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and executive in residence at Duke University. He is an entrepreneur who founded two technology companies and is a regular contributor to TechCrunch as well as BusinessWeek online.

DURHAM, N.C. – Everyone seems to be waiting for the next great discovery which will change the world. But, believe it or not, the next Internet, semiconductor, or breakthrough in MRI technology may already have been discovered. It’s just languishing on the shelves of the university research labs you drive by on your way to work every day. University researchers don’t know how to commercialize their discoveries and smart, hungry entrepreneurs looking to meet the next Larry or Sergey don’t know how to find them.

These parallel universes rarely meet (well, except sometimes at Stanford).

In 2007, U.S. universities performed $48.8 billion of research and filed 17,589 U.S. patent applications. In that same year universities received back revenues for licensing and royalties on patents of less than $2 billion. Those revenues include ongoing royalties from all of the research licensed over the past 40 years. The implication is clear. An astonishing amount of promising research is left in the lab.

When I say this to university administrators, they get incredibly defensive (almost like the VC’s I pissed off with my last post.) They rightfully argue that the role of the university is to teach and to add to the world’s knowledge base. The real benefit comes from the students who universities educate, who go and start the Apples and Microsoft’s. No argument there. But we have a goldmine of knowledge and potential innovation locked in our research universities. This goldmine could fuel the next two decades of economic growth. It is time to mine this goldmine.

For the remainder of Wadhwa’s post,

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