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Research Commercialization: How Much Control Should Universities Have?

There is a recent trend towards universities funding the commercialization of their own research, with a new University of California fund one of the most recent examples.

by Lab Manager
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20 dollar billHidro, Wikimedia CommonsAccording to a recent article in The National Law Review, universities controlling and supporting the commercialization of their own research is not a new trend in the academic world. Recently, for example, the University of California created UC Ventures, “an independent fund to pursue investments in UC research-fueled enterprises” in September 2014, stated the school in a press release

The university made the move after its president Janet Napolitano “rescinded the ‘Guidelines on University-Industry Relations Policy,’ in place since 1989, which prohibited the university from investing directly in companies emerging from UC research,” stated K. Lance Anderson in The National Law Review article. 

“In addition to any financial benefits, we see this fund as a potential vehicle for providing resources to support the basic research and talent—among both faculty and students—required to develop innovations that can benefit California and the world,” said Napolitano in that press release about the creation of UC Ventures back in September. 

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However, there are risks involved in funds and endowments like this one, along with debates over just how much universities should be involved in the business side of research. Anderson discusses all of these issues in his article, which can be found here.

- With files from The National Law Review