Sponsored by Lane Powell

OSU strengthens connections with the private sector

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

By Corey Paul

Oregon State University changed the name of its Office of Technology Transfer on Monday, a seemingly minor step but one university officials call a major shift in philosophy that could also prove lucrative. The new Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development will take a more proactive approach in finding and selling research projects.

Better connecting higher education and research to the private sector is a huge issue for Oregon, commonly considered a shortcoming when comparing the state with Washington or California.

The shift at OSU leads to two new full-time positions and one part-time position. The department filled one of those full-time positions with the hiring of Dan Whitaker, who has started more than 16 companies, including Rogue Wave Software, Centralia Sawmill Company and Hotdata, all of which became publicly traded companies or sales to large interests. Whitaker will roam the university acting like an independent consultant for new business creation. The unfilled positions are for licensing associates that will help the microproducts and life sciences departments launch innovation into the marketplace.

Partly explaining OSU's new approach is the growth the school saw in its research portfolio as well as an increasing number of faculty innovations moving into the marketplace. In the last decade, annual research funding doubled from $138 million to $275 million by last year.
The university also has generated more spin-off companies that have landed venture capital. One of those, Home Dialysis Plus, landed $50 million in the first half of 2010.

Relationships differ, but most of the OSU spinoff companies financially benefit the university through an arrangement such as partial ownership or a licensing agreement, said OSU Spokesperson Todd Simmons. The innovators, of course, profit too.

Brian Wall, director of the department, wants more investment in the future toward the OSU Development Fund, a sort of gap fund that targets projects with other investment to pay for developments such as a prototype and make innovations seem less risky to larger investors. Wall also hopes to hire more staff to focus on building connections between other specific departments and the private sector.

The way Wall sees it, more startups mean more investment, which means job creation, higher incomes and new tax revenue.

"In my mind it's critical for state universities to help fill this role, especially with the economy where it is now," Wall said. "We could do a lot of good."

Corey Paul is an associate writer for Oregon Business.

 

More Articles

100 Best Green Workplaces announced

News
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-1000pxwBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

More than 250 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS