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Science & Technology Commission
Meeting Minutes
October 26, 1999

Attendees: Anita Jones (chair), Janis Antonovics, Suzanne Farnsworth, Ian Harrison, George Hornberger, Bob Jones, Dick Merrill, John O’Connell, Gary Owens, Karen Parshall, Dennis Proffitt, Kevin Sullivan. Ex officio: Jeffrey Plank, Tim Sigmon, Dick Sundberg, Haydn Wadley. Staff: Amy Cronin, Charlie Feigenoff, Denise Karaoli, Brian Moriarity, Peggy Reed, Fariss Samarrai.


Meeting Summary

Bob MacWright, executive director of the U.Va. Patent Foundation, discussed national and local trends related to intellectual property and technology transfer and the impact of these trends on the University. He based his comments on the assumption that IP will have an expanded role at U.Va. by the year 2020.


National Trends:

  1. Federal funding laws, such as the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, are pushing universities toward commercialization. Federal RFPs increasingly ask for practical outcomes from federally funded research.
  2. Corporations are increasingly reliant on universities for basic scientific research. University-spawned start-ups are providing primary applied research and early product development. Most corporate R&D now focuses on late-stage product development. As a result, corporate funding of university research is increasing dramatically (total of $2.2 billion in 1997).
  3. Technology transfer activity in U.S. universities is increasing. The number of patents granted to universities in 1980 was 250; the number granted in 1997 was 2,645. Universities had $698.5 million in licensing income in 1997. University IP practices have become broader and more complex.
  4. Faculty are becoming more interested in commercialization. Successful start-ups are creating wealth. Faculty members and university administrators are openly discussion entrepreneurism. Support for technology transfer/start-ups is an important faculty recruitment issue.


Local Trends:

  1. Research funding is expanding rapidly. U.Va. received $170 million in research funding last year, and funding is up 7% over the past five years. With the increases in funding in the federal budget, U.Va. has the potential to double its total research dollars in the short term.
  2. Patent Foundation 1999 disclosures: 76%-Medicine, 12% Arts & Sciences, 12% Engineering and Applied Science (software-6%).
  3. Patent Foundation has new perspectives: Faculty satisfaction and hustle are its top priorities. Only way to increase annual revenue is to increase the "deal flow." Patent Foundation must continue to expand to provide adequate service as activity increases.


How to prepare U.Va. for growth in research enterprise:

  1. Educate undergraduates about IP and its role in S&T. Important for students to understand university/industry roles and relationships.
  2. Educate graduate students about IP. Graduate students need familiarity with Bayh-Dole Act, patent and copyright processes, licensing, material transfer agreements, industrial research contracts.
  3. Develop relationship between Darden School faculty and scientific research faculty. Darden faculty can help researchers understand how to develop and fund a start-up company.
  4. Support expansion of research administration. Need additional staff for corporate research contract negotiation.
  5. Support continued expansion of Patent Foundation programs and services.
  6. Plan for 2020: Building a cultural continuum between the academic and commercial sectors should be a key part of University’s long-range plan for science and technology.


Discussion Topics – U.Va. Patent Foundation

  • National trends
  • Local (U.Va.) trends
  • Preparing U.Va. for research growth


Action Items

  • Distribute Patent Foundation annual report (when available)


Next Meeting

Tuesday, November 9, 1999, 7:30-9:00 am, Newcomb Hall Room 389

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