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IU Research and Technology Corp. strengthens IU's national, international profile with robust year

Feb. 3, 2017

Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., which protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed at IU so it can be commercialized by industry, had a strong 2016 that raised the university's national and international profile, CEO Tony Armstrong told the IU Board of Trustees at its meeting in Bloomington this week. 

IURTC logo

The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed at IU. | IMAGE COURTESY OF IURTC

The university was ranked 37th in the "Reuters Top 100: The World's Most Innovative Universities" for 2016. This represents a 12-spot rise over the previous year's rank of 49. The Reuters study was based on the number of scholarly journals each institution published and the number of patents filed with global patent offices from 2009 to 2014, then cross-referenced how often the patents were cited and the percentage of articles that featured an industry co-author, among other criteria. 

IURTC ranked 43rd among world universities in the report "Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents 2015" from the National Academy of Inventors. The ranking represents a year-over-year rise from No. 86. 

Armstrong told the Board of Trustees that IURTC improved upon its year-over-year commercialization activity in FY 2016. Results include: 

  • Licenses: 46, up 84 percent from 25 in FY 2015
  • Licensing revenue: $7.03 million, up 3 percent from $6.85 million in FY 2015
  • U.S. patent applications: 184, up 13 percent from 162 in FY 2015
  • U.S. patents issued: 53, up 32 percent from 40 in FY 2015
  • Total active patent portfolios licensed: 66 percent, up from 64 percent in FY 2015

IURTC ranked first among technology transfer offices at state research institutions in global patents issued and licensing revenue generated for the second consecutive year. Among technology transfer offices at Big Ten institutions in FY 2015 -- the most recent year of available statistics from the Association of University Technology Managers report -- IURTC ranked eighth in generating revenue and issued U.S. patents despite having the third-smallest dedicated staff.

Most technology licensed to established companies and startups originated at the Bloomington campus, the IUPUI campus and the School of Medicine. They span industries such as medical devices, therapeutics, energy storage, online technologies and education. 

Armstrong discussed IURTC's long-term history, highlighting the organization's impact since it was founded in 1997 at ARTI, or the Advanced Research & Technology Institute. Highlights of the past 20 years include:

  • Nearly 2,900 inventions disclosed by IU researchers across all campuses.
  • More than 4,300 global patent applicants filed, and almost 1,100 global patents issued.
  • Almost $138 million in licensing and related income distributed to IU campuses, departments and laboratories, pursuant to the IU Intellectual Policy.

Armstrong said IURTC has accomplished and is planning several tasks to further align it with the Bicentennial Strategic Plan. These include:

  • Reorganizing the Spin Up entrepreneurial program to offer more business services to researcher-entrepreneurs.
  • Moving the Indianapolis office closer to the IUPUI campus before a permanent move to a downtown innovation district in the coming years.
  • Partnering with the IU Foundation to establish the Indiana Philanthropic Venture Fund to provide capital to innovations generated within the IU ecosystem.

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