UNC Sees Big Leap in Technology Licensing Revenue

Licensing technologies created at Carolina generated $7.93 million in income for the University in fiscal 2014, more than double the highest amount of royalty income Carolina has received in a single year.

The amount comes from licensing revenues by companies that use University-created technology and from the University’s sale of stock it holds in successful startups. Until this year, the highest income Carolina had ever received from technology was $3.93 million in fiscal 2004.

The growth follows UNC’s decision earlier this year to stop charging overhead costs to inventors who win federal Phase I SBIR and STTR grants, making the University a more attractive home for researchers. The University also has started a pilot program to award technology-enhancement grants to faculty who make promising discoveries but need proof-of-concept funds to demonstrate commercial potential.

“The University’s expanded focus on developing innovative technologies and new startups is making these revenues possible,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “UNC’s research helps drive the state’s economy, and we look forward to continuing the use of Carolina-created technologies to support the growth of business in North Carolina and beyond.”

Since 1997, UNC has generated $48.3 million in technology-license revenue and started 91 new technology-based businesses. The University has been awarded 791 patents and 1,573 foreign patents, has granted 857 technology licenses and has secured $35.7 million in patent reimbursements.

The UNC Office of Technology Development, working with partners at UNC’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and Carolina KickStart program, provides commercialization services to faculty that include evaluating, patenting, licensing and assisting in obtaining corporate sponsorships.

When the Office of Technology Development partners with a company, any income received through the commercial development of products and services is shared with the inventors and their departments. This relationship and the influx of income from licensing create a funding stream for additional research.

“We’ve made strategic investments in the Office of Technology Development to make it more efficient, effective and sustainable. These investments are paying off,” said Vice Chancellor for Research Barbara Entwisle. “This was our most profitable year for royalty income, and it lays a great foundation for future technology-commercialization success.”

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