Benefits and Impact

Results from a survey released Dec. 2 by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) indicate that federally sponsored research really does pay off, even if it takes years to do so. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1998, the AUTM survey credits $33.5 billion of U.S. economic activity to technology transfer.

That activity included support for 280,000 jobs, issuance of 3,668 new licenses and options, and granting of 3,224 new U.S. patents (see chart). AUTM defines technology transfer as "the patenting and licensing of discoveries and inventions made in academic research and the movement of these research results from the laboratory to the commercial sector for the public good." Much of the initial research taking place at universities is federally funded.

AUTM president Louis P. Berneman, managing director of the center for technology transfer at the University of Pennsylvania, describes the technology transfer process...

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