University of Florida: UF first among US public universities in tech transfer for economic return

The University of Florida ranks first among public universities and second nationwide in a new report that evaluates which U.S. universities are best at moving new discoveries from the lab and into the real world through research commercialization and STEM graduates.

The report, “Research to Renewal: Advancing University Tech Transfer,” was produced by Heartland Forward, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that describes itself as a “think and do tank focused on improving economic performance in the center of the United States.” It evaluated American universities based on their success at infusing discoveries into private industry to yield an economic return.

The metrics included invention disclosures; number of licenses and options; licensing income and startups formed; citations of university articles contained in patents granted to firms; and relative number of STEM graduates.

The report noted that in their evaluation UF “is the top public university. It has a huge student body … and research enterprise. Its technology transfer prowess was seeded in the 1960s with its creation of Gatorade.”

The report is the latest accolade for UF tech transfer. In 2020, for the third time, the International Business Innovation Association awarded its highest honor – the Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year award – to UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, naming it the best incubator in the world. And in 2017, UF ranked third among all research universities in the country, according to the Milken Institute’s ranking of Best Universities for Technology Transfer.

“One of the most important parts of our mission as a public university is to translate our research into impact beyond the academic setting in a way that directly affects people’s daily lives,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “This recognition of UF as the best public university in the US at translating research discoveries into technologies that create companies and economic opportunities speaks volumes to the excellence of our faculty and students, and the value of our institution to our state and nation. We are honored to receive this external recognition.”

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