university community. It is for these reasons that this study focused on the university’s management of IP but in the context of all of the strategies and mechanisms for transmitting knowledge and in recognition of their interactions and role in the core mission of the university.
Finding 1: The first goal of university technology transfer involving IP is the expeditious and wide dissemination of university-generated technology for the public good. The public good might include inputs into further research; new products and processes addressing societal needs; generation of employment opportunities for the production, distribution, and use of new products. Although the transfer methods will vary among institutions depending on the history, location, and composition of the institution’s research portfolio, the goal of expeditious and wide dissemination of discoveries and inventions places IP-based technology transfer squarely within the research university’s core missions of discovery, learning, and the promotion of social well-being.
Finding 2: The transition of knowledge into practice takes place through a variety of mechanisms, including but not limited to
movement of highly skilled students (with technical and business skills) from training to private and public employment;
publication of research results in the open academic literature that is read by scientists, engineers, and researchers in all sectors;
personal interaction between creators and users of new knowledge (e.g., through professional meetings, conferences, seminars, industrial liaison programs, and other venues);
firm-sponsored (contract) research projects involving firm-institution agreements;
multifirm arrangements such as university-industry cooperative research centers;
personal individual faculty and student consulting arrangements with individual private firms;
entrepreneurial activity of faculty and students occurring outside the university without involving university-owned intellectual property; and
licensing of IP to established firms or to new start-up companies.
All eight mechanisms, often operating in a complementary fashion, offer significant contributions to the economy. The licensing of IP, although not the most important of these mechanisms, is more often discussed, measured, quantified, and debated than all of the other mechanisms combined and is the subject of our remaining findings and recommendations.