CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University recorded its best year ever in technology licensing – nearly triple what it earned just five years ago – during the last fiscal year, which ended June 30. Combined with continued growth in funding from private industry, the increase cushioned a nearly 13 percent decline in federal funding stemming largely from budget cuts known as sequestration.
Oregon State research grants and contracts totaled almost $263 million last year, just shy of its fiscal year 2009 level. Meanwhile, OSU received a record $7.7 million in licensing and royalty income. Private sector financing reached nearly $36 million, a 65 percent increase over the past five years, as calculated on an annual basis.
“Licenses are a measure of how effective we are in helping industry turn research into marketable products,” said Rick Spinrad, vice president for research at Oregon State. “Companies in the electronics, chemical processing and natural resources industries are looking to OSU for innovations to help them compete.”
“By licensing the results of our research, they are increasing their value in the marketplace and creating jobs in Oregon,” Spinrad added.
In the last year, OSU signed 88 new licenses with organizations in the fields of information technology, agriculture, industrial materials, biotechnology, forest products, healthy aging and manufacturing.
Oregon State’s statewide role in stimulating economic development stems from research and begins when scientists file notices known as invention disclosures with the university’s Research Office. In 2013, they filed more such notices, 80, than ever before.
It was also a record year for new start-up companies to license OSU technology. Among them were: CSD Nano of Corvallis, which sells a high-performance, anti-reflective coating to increase the performance of solar cells; OilEx Tech of Monmouth, producer of a microwave oil extraction device; NW Medical Isotopes of Corvallis, which offers a domestic option for production of a medically critical isotope, molybdenum-99; and Online Labs of Corvallis, which provides a virtual online chemistry laboratory experience for high school and college students.
The federal government provided more than 58 percent of Oregon State’s research grants and contracts from all sources in FY13, compared to almost 63 percent in FY12. Among the university’s largest federal grants in FY13 were:
- Nearly $4.7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for ocean wave energy research at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center;
- A $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study and avoid threats from wildfire, drought and disease to western forests;
- A $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development for a worldwide program of aquaculture and fisheries research;
- Nearly $3 million from the National Science Foundation for design and coordination of construction for up to three new coastal research vessels to bolster the nation’s marine science capabilities;
- A $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation for investigation of a diatom-based biorefinery.
Funding from state and local governments grew 46 percent in fiscal year 2013 to a total of $7.8 million. Revenue from industrial testing services grew by 25 percent to $11.8 million.
With more than $53 million in grants and contracts, the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences brought in OSU’s largest share of research funding, followed by the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences ($40 million) and the College of Engineering ($30 million).