Virginia Tech debuts tool to turn innovation into businesses
Virginia Tech was born to promote business.
The 1862 Morrill Act, which created land-grant universities including Virginia Tech, requires such universities to “teach such branches of learning as are related to … agriculture and the mechanical arts … to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes.”
Tech and every other university that receives federal research funding became more enmeshed in commerce in 1980, when the Bayh-Dole Act required those universities to attempt to commercialize research and share resulting revenues with inventors. Virginia Tech’s marketplace bond strengthened again in 2017, when Brandy Salmon, vice president for innovation and partnerships, joined the university and created Link+License+Launch, the university’s “center for industrial partnerships.”
“It wasn’t that we didn’t do industry partnership work or tech transfer” before she arrived, Salmon says. Her task was to “create a more deliberate and integrated approach.”
Last fiscal year, Link+License+Launch was involved with 20 license and option deals and six startup deals. It brought in more than $1.4 million in direct licensing revenue.
The initiative’s “Link” component serves companies that already have a relationship with the university, as well as companies the university wants to cultivate. “License,” as its name implies, focuses on licensing technology and “Launch” is all about startups.
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