In a new ranking of academic institutions, published Tuesday by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Rochester was ranked sixth in the nation for the revenues it has earned from the research of its scientists and engineers. At $42 million, the University is behind only Columbia University, University of California System, New York University, Florida State University, and Stanford University. The ranking is based on figures from fiscal year 2002 in a survey conducted by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).
“The 2001-02 year was great for us,” says Mark Coburn, director of the Office of Technology Transfer for the University. “It is especially gratifying to be able to benchmark our licensing success and be ranked again among the top research universities in the nation. Once a university has achieved this level of revenue, companies and venture capitalists begin to recognize that the University is ‘licensing- and start-up-company friendly.’ It creates an exciting, sustainable process of technology transfer and helps to foster and attract resources to cultivate more innovative research.”
University technology has become increasingly profitable in the last several years. In 2001, technology transfer revenue topped $29 million, more than double the $13 million of 2000 and nearly 10 times the $3 million of 1999. The most lucrative patents include a childhood vaccine, computer technology used in offices around the world, and a technique for unprecedented accuracy in diagnosing aberrations in the eye.
The AUTM survey showed a trend among universities to reap more profits from their research. In total, the academic institutions brought in nearly $1 billion in patent revenue for the year, a 16 percent increase from the year before. The survey tallied responses from 156 colleges and universities, including 94 of the 100 institutions that spend the most on research.