Making research make a difference

Few young scientists enter their fields with a passion for endlessly pursuing grants, revising rejected papers, and abandoning fruitless experiments. We have had the pleasure of working with somewhere north of 500 researchers, young and old, and each one has been fueled by a common desire—to make a difference.

I talked earlier about the options for moving science and technology out of the university research laboratories and into broader use (Forks in the road).  The National Academies of Science recently created a working committee to review the current state of university intellectual property and make recommendations regarding its future.  While their recommendations are grist for another post, I wanted to point out their nice job in cataloging the many pathways by which ideas, generated in university labs, get out to make a difference in the world.

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The Forks in the Road

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
—Yogi Berra

In the commercialization of university research, it’s important to recognize that not every research project becomes a new venture—nor should it. For every research project, there is a range of possible outcomes. This range is often lost when federal commercialization policies, universities technology transfer offices, and enterpreneurship programs focus too much on the number of startups launched or the amount of licensing revenue received in a given year.

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