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MIT, Columbia University and Purdue University have been ranked as the top three universities in the United States with the most startup spin-off companies, according to a report by IP Watchdog, the largest publication dedicated to intellectual property news.
The University of California System with 785 startups and the University of Texas System with 277 startups was excluded from the data since those schools only report data that includes the state’s collective results and not individual university results.
“Critical factors that enhance startup success is the stability of the parent TTO (e.g., Columbia University), leadership and support from the university (e.g., Purdue University), support from the alumni (e.g., University of Florida and University of Michigan), and size of available research funding (e.g., University of Washington and University of Pennsylvania),” the report reads.
From 2008 to 2018, MIT initiated 244 startup companies from technology developed in the university’s laboratories. Columbia University researchers were responsible for 194, while Purdue University researchers created 174. The following universities round out the top 10:
- University of Utah- 163
- Stanford University- 160
- University of Florida- 155
- University of Pennsylvania- 144
- University of Washington- 140
- University of Michigan- 140
- Johns Hopkins University- 137
“We are doing something that matters. Not just for Purdue but for all universities that strive to turn technologies into products with impact,” said Greg Deason, senior vice president of entrepreneurship and place making for Purdue Research Foundation. “In startup creation we are converting life-changing technologies to the market that create new jobs, new opportunities and new ways to positively impact our global society.”
In the last decade or so, which is the same period covered in the report, technology transfer and IP departments at universities have become increasingly popular. This makes sense when you look at the numbers: in 2008, there were 606 total new startups; in 2018, there were 1,098. The startup/IP/technology transfer increase is heavily attributed to a sustained effort by universities to incubate early-stage technologies.
“More and more universities are recognizing the benefit of getting technology into the hands of end-users rather than being locked up inside a college campus,” Rob Gerlach, Director of IP and Technology Transfer at Wichita State University, told Laboratory Equipment. “Key institutions, such as Stanford University, have provided a pathway showcasing that if tech transfer is done successfully, there are numerous benefits—both for the university and for the general public. Consequently, others are starting to take notice.”
Gerlach himself is part of that category. Last year, he launched “Gateway to IP” at Wichita State University, a hands-on program designed to give students a leg up in the IP industry. “At Wichita State, we have developed our intellectual property policies to incentivize the creation of technology and to ensure the tech transfer model is beneficial to the licensee, the university and the inventor,” he said.