While other universities are struggling to bridge funding gaps caused by sequestration and declines in state and federal subsidies, OSU is raking in the cash, and stimulating the local economy, by licensing research and technology to local startups and private industry.
This year was a record year for the OSU licensing program, tripling the amount received just five years ago, the program brought in 7.7 million in licensing and royalty income. Direct private financing also soared to a record 36 million, a 65% increase compared to same period five years ago.
Royalties and licensing, are, according to Rick Spinrad, vice president for research at Oregon State, “a measure of how effective we are in helping industry turn research into marketable products. Companies in the electronics, chemical processing and natural resources industries are looking to OSU for innovations to help them compete.”
While valuable though, licensing schemes aren’t yet the primary mechanism for funding new work, that comes from grants and contracts. Just as federal subsidies have declined, so too have federal research grants and contracts, but that hasn’t hampered OSU.
Despite a 5% decline in the relative proportion of federal grants and contracts received, the university garnered, or won, 90.4 million in private sector research grants and contracts more than making up for the decline.
Revenue from the State, 7.8 million, and from industrial testing, 11.8 million also helped offset declines in federal funding.
Coupled with 153 million in federal grants and contracts, the university amassed 263 million in fiscal year 2013 for new work.
So despite declines, some of the university’s largest grants came from federal institutions. The Department of Energy awarded 4.7 million for increased research in wave power and 3.8 million from the Department of Agriculture was awarded to study threats from fire, droughts and disease to the nations western forests.
There was also a 3.7 million research grant from the Agency for International Development to study aquaculture and fisheries and a combined 5 million from the National Science Foundation for design and coordination of construction on up to three new coastal research vessels, as well as for funding an investigation into the viability of a diatom-based biorefinery.
Beyond just working with big companies and the Federal government, OSU also works to stimulate the local economy through partnerships with startups right here in Oregon. From CSD Nano of Corvallis, a purveyor of coatings that increase the performance of solar cells to NW Medical Isotopes of Corvallis, a production company that produces a medically critical isotope, molybdenum-99 and Online Labs of Corvallis, who provides a virtual online chemistry laboratory experience that benefits high school and college students, OSU’s licensing program not only brings in more money for the University, it stimulates the local economy and helps to build a smarter community.
By William Tatum