Research to Renewal: Advancing University Tech Transfer

PR Newswire

BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 13, 2022

Heartland Forward releases its report ranking Universities’ ability to turn research and discovery into private industry generating an economic return

BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 13, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Today, Heartland Forward released its most recent research report, Research to Renewal: Advancing University Tech Transfer. The report was released during Heartland Forward’s flagship event, The Heartland Summitwhich brings together leading thinkers, innovators and investors, creating powerful networks for the path of progress and turn great ideas into action.

Research to Renewal

Heartland Forward releases reporting based on the ability to transfer technology to the commercial space.

The report evaluates which universities are the most accomplished at creating new knowledge; embedding it in their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates; and transferring both new and existing enterprises. Research and discovery are fundamental objectives of universities, but they must be absorbed and infused into the private industry to generate an economic return on investment.

For formal commercialization and intellectual property of tech transfer, metrics include:

  • Invention disclosures

  • The number of licenses and options

  • Licensing income and startups formed

  • Citations of university articles contained in patents granted to firms

Ross DeVolPresident and CEO of Heartland Forward said: “The graduation ceremony at American universities is the biggest single annual technology transfer. While all forms of university education are valuable, this evaluation incorporates a number of STEM graduates with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and their proportion of total degrees. It stands to reason that many The top-performing research universities are among the elite institutions in the US and we are proud to release this list, which comprehensively tracks how our American universities are doing this critical work. We believe that states, cities and rural areas can do more effectively. Correctly channeled, this approach can create jobs paying top 5% of incomes, as well as a wide variety of middle-income jobs, and be inclusive. The definition of the American Dream. “

Maryann Feldmanthe Heninger Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina said: “This report takes an in-depth look at transfer activities across universities the United States and provides data, insights, and recommendations that will help schools increase their impact on the communities they serve. Our hope is that with this data, more universities will invest in tools to expand critical technology transfer activities and that policymakers will also step up to the plate to encourage and support these investments. “

University of Minnesota Interim Vice President for Research Michael Oakes said: “The University of Minnesota Heartland Forward is recognized as the highest-ranked Heartland University and fifth among public universities nationwide. We are home to innovative researchers in many key fields — from medicine to material science to horticulture to education — and we have purposely built an equally creative technology commercialization team and a corporate engagement to cultivate entrepreneurialism within and simplify cooperation with external companies. Coinciding with this report of its release, and consistent with its findings, we recently achieved a key milestone launch of our 200th startup company since 2006. In the last decade, we have also listened to our students and employers in our region, and expanded many STEM offerings. All that lives up to our tagline, Driven to Discover, and our commitment to research that has real impact. “

The report was officially unveiled during the panel discussion, entitled: Opportunity of a Lifetime: Seizing the Moment to Modernize Education and Workforce Training. Panelists included: Ross DeVolPresident and CEO of Heartland Forward; Maryann Feldmanthe Heninger Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina; Kathleen McLaughlinexecutive vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart, Inc., and president of the Walmart Foundation; Noa Meyerhead of philanthropy and social impact of BDT & Company; Michael Oakesvice president for research at the University of Minnesota; Elisa Villanueva BeardCEO for Teach for America.

What Universities Can Do to Improve
Within the academy, greater emphasis is needed on patenting, licensing and startup activity, and these factors should be weighted more heavily in faculty tenure and promotion decisions. Doing so will assure young researchers that their university passionately supports technology transfer and entrepreneurial activities and will nudge many in the direction of working collaboratively with businesses. Universities with major financial success in startups or licenses from royalties underscore the value of tech transfer and its potential, and contribute to additional resources.

Public Policy Suggestions
Heartland states should consider several factors to boost performance.

  1. Governors and legislatures should consider direct funding for technology transfer offices as an economic development initiative.

  2. Heartland elected officials should advocate for commercialization and transfer of tech into stated objectives in the mission statements of universities.

  3. State leaders should advocate for a consortium of universities to be formed across the heartland to exchange and implement best practices in commercialization.

  4. A pooling of invention disclosures and patents across state borders is eligible for investigation. Providing alumni foundation investments in venture capital funds pooled over multiple states would reduce the risk of these investments and possibly spur greater success.

About Heartland Forward
Heartland Forward is a nonpartisan, 501c3 organization whose mission is to improve economic performance in the center the United States By advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health outcomes. Heartland Forward conducts independent, data-driven research and programs to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations. To learn more, visit

CONTACT: Erika Tannor, [email protected] 917-626-2487



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SOURCE Heartland Forward

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