example is the handling of intellectual property. Each state has its own probably unique laws that decree how the intellectual property is handled at universities.
Innovation is evolving in the United States. It happens locally and is critically dependent on the workforce. Hurt mentioned that patent citations in scientific literature had increased 11-fold in the last decade. The country’s patents are becoming more complicated and rely far more on research than they used to. Small businesses, academia, and newcomers—information technology and biotechnology, for example—are patenting work much faster than before. In fact, academic institutions are patenting at about the same rate as the federal government, and small business is patenting at about the same rate as major corporations. Just a few years ago, professors believed that if they spent time working in cooperation with industry or obtaining patents, it would not be helpful for promotion or tenure. That attitude is beginning to change.
Public funding is also important. One of the roles of government is awarding patents. Two-thirds of the cited papers are published by organizations that are primarily supported by the federal government, so that another role of the federal government is funding the fundamental research upon which the patents are based. This includes public money that goes to private institutions, such as Johns Hopkins.
Hurt believed that the country’s business schools were training their MBA graduates to be managers and chief executive officers of Fortune 500 companies. In the science and technology arena, innovation is occurring in the small businesses. He had asked business schools if they were teaching their students to manage small businesses, but few said they were changing their focus.
The discussion moved to NSF’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRCs), its Science and Technology Centers (STCs), and its Engineering Research Centers (ERCs). The IUCRCs have been in existence for 30 years and the ERCs for the past 20 years. During this period NSF learned a lot about cooperative relationships. Fewer than a dozen of the 3,200 academic institutions in the United States have profited from their research. Hurt tells such institutions that to profit from their research, they must protect their intellectual property. However, there is a point at which a university will end up spending more to protect the intellectual property than it will ever gain from it financially. Once the university owns an intellectual property, there are ways to use that ownership as the basis for interacting with the private sector.
A second lesson from programs at NSF’s various cooperative centers concerns future equity. More academic institutions are now using their intellectual property to support their future financial health. Lastly, the development of an intellectual infrastructure for research and education is largely a responsibility of state and federal government. States that attempted to turn universities into commercialization units did great harm to innovation. States that moved in the right direction, according to Hurt, include Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas.
Hurt reported on interviews that NSF conducted with the firms that had participated in cooperative centers. Such firms said that 10 percent of their product line resulted from their collaborations in precompetitive research at a university. They also said the universities should remain a partner, doing what they are good at doing and letting industry do what it is good at doing. However, anecdotal results from Maryann Feldman’s Johns Hopkins University Institute for Information Security (JHUISI) suggest that small businesses affiliated with academia are significantly more successful than