Partnerships with Private Industry:
The Wave of the Future?
Partnerships in Innovation:
the University and the Private Sector
Director, Office of Technology Alliances
Carol Womack (UC Irvine) and Kelly Janousek (CSU Long Beach)
co-moderated this program.
ARE THESE partnerships the wave of the future? The answer is clearly "yes"--even when a partnership fails, quite loudly and publicly, as described by our second speaker.
The first speaker was David G. Schetter, the charter Director of the Office of Technology Alliances at the University of California, Irvine. The mission of the office is ". . . to foster productive, appropriate, and mutually beneficial research interactions and transfers of technology between UC Irvine and the private sector." Throughout, Mr. Schetter stressed ways in which the library can, and does, play a vital role in fulfilling this mission.
Mr. Schetter organized his remarks around context, trends, strategies, and resources. Context encompasses the range of university/industry interactions, technology transfer, and reasons why universities participate. University/industry interactions include faculty consulting, clinical trials, technology licensing, and more. Technology transfer, operationally defined as the "transfer of proprietary rights in intellectual property via license," may take the form of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets or "know-how." Reasons for university participation include to earn income for the institution, to enhance state economic development (small companies in particular stand to reap great profits), and to commercialize research results for the public benefit which cannot take place without an industrial partner.
Trends were addressed from the perspective of the university, industry, and the federal government. From the university standpoint, the trends are only good, and getting better. To highlight just one of the many latest statistics (for fiscal year 1996) compiled by the Association of University Technology Managers for their annual Licensing Survey, the 173 participating U.S. and Canadian institutions earned revenues of $592 million--up 19.6% from 1995.
From the industry perspective, university partners share risk and help relieve the pressure on the bottom line--profits. Outsourcing research and development (R&D) to the university means creating a pipeline to the newest cutting edge technology.
"Policy schizophrenia" forms part of the government perspective, as it strives to balance the major goals of job creation and economic development against the principle that ". . . no one-- industry OR the university--should get rich . . ." achieving those goals.
With the Office of Technology Alliances at the core of UCI's partnerships, mediating that delicate balance between economic development and potential industry/university conflicts of interest, UCI's highly successful, cyclical model of collaboration provides a win-win strategy for industry/university partnering. In return for salary, facilities use, and royalty shares, the principal investigator--the inventor--turns over licensing rights to the university. The university, in turn, assigns the commercial rights to the industry sponsor/licensee in return for revenues from fees and royalties, and funding for overhead. The sponsor/licensee gains "new knowledge/diligence" from the principal investigator.
The library--its services and collections--enters the partnership as another key resource provider. Its contributions take such forms as repository and service provider for patents and other primary, along with secondary, intellectual property information resources; gateway to data profiling faculty, research centers, institutes, and companies; provider of pharmaceutical information; and more. Through the development of Web metasites delivered to desktops, the library can provide an ideal form of one-stop shopping services for the university and its industry partners.
Rosenfeld Library, UCLA