Universities play an important role in the development of new technology and its commercialization, says Forbes' Scott Shane. Google and Gatorade were both university inventions, and medical school researchers have created many drugs and medical treatments — researchers at Wake Forest University invented the vacuum assist closure of wounds, which reduces wound healing time by a third, and a team at the University of Wisconsin was responsible for the development of Warfarin, Shane says. "In the 30 years since the US Congress passed the Bayh-Dole Act, which assigned ownership of federally-funded inventions to academic institutions, university inventions have led to 6,000 new businesses, 4,300 new products, and 153 drugs," he adds. A recently released survey by the Association of University Technology Managers shows that US academic institutions generated $2.3 billion in licensing income in 2009, an increase over the previous year, and that the rate at which academic institutions licensed inventions and spun off companies also increased. "The average number of inventions disclosed per university and hospital has increased 56 percent over the last decade," Shane says. "In short, despite the decline in yield from invention disclosures in recent years, the rise in the number of inventions disclosed at US academic institutions has led to recession-defying increases in both licensing and new company creation activity."
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