CORVALLIS, Ore. – In recognition of Oregon State University’s rapidly growing research portfolio and the increasing number of faculty innovations moving toward the marketplace, OSU has transformed its Office of Technology Transfer to a larger and more robust Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development, university officials announced today.
The Technology Transfer office had served the university well since 1982, but with enormous growth in recent years in research funding, patent awards, the number of licensed university innovations and royalty income, OSU leaders felt a more holistic approach to commercial activities was overdue.
Just 10 years ago, for instance, OSU brought in $138 million in annual research funding. That total doubled to more than $275 million by last year, including $5.5 million in research support from private industry, a 55 percent increase over the previous year. OSU now conducts more sponsored research than all other campuses of the Oregon University System combined.
“This is not just a change in name, but an exciting move from an intellectual property management mindset to an expanded focus on development of innovations and corporate partnerships,” said OSU Vice President for Research Rick Spinrad. “This improved organization will help us accelerate invention disclosures, increase new businesses created from OSU research, bolster licensing revenue returned to the faculty and university and strengthen corporate support for university research.”
Heading the expanded commercialization office will be Brian Wall, who has served as director of Technology Transfer for the past four years. Wall is expanding the commercialization staff by two and one-half positions, the first to be filled by Dan Whitaker, a “serial entrepreneur” who has started more than 16 companies, including Rogue Wave Software, Centralia Sawmill Company and Hotdata, all of which were either grown into publicly traded companies or sold to larger interests. A Corvallis resident, Whitaker was also a founder and the first executive director of the Software Association of Oregon.
“Dan has been intrigued by OSU’s growth as a research university in recent years, and recently expressed interest in joining our team to assist with our efforts in new business creation and collaboration with industry partners,” said Wall. “He is indicative of a new wave of industry interest in the university and of the value that businesses see in the research program and innovations coming out of OSU. We’re fortunate to have him and believe we’ll see immediate benefits from his presence in our organization.”
Reflective of the university’s evolving mindset around commercial activities is a new OSU “Partnering with Industry” website launched late in 2010. The site presents in a single location multiple resources for private sector individuals and companies seeking to connect with OSU researchers, particularly around the areas of Energy, Health, Environment & Natural Resources and Economic & Social Development.
“This year promises to be incredibly active for OSU in research and industry activities, and we hope that our newly expanded commercialization office will help the university capitalize on all the attendant opportunities to the fullest advantage of each,” said Wall.
For more information, contact Commercialization and Corporate Development at 541-737-0674.