Even in the fragile economy of the past three years in which Quisenberry has been at ISU, she said the university has increased its research efforts and technology transfer. ISU had 47 patent applications filed in fiscal 2011, up 21 over 2010.

License agreements and options decreased to 49 from 97 in fiscal 2010, however.

UI restructured its economic development and technology commercialization efforts about six years ago under a new structure called the UI Centers for Enterprise. The centers include the UI Research Foundation, Vice President for Research, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Small Business Development Center and two incubators for small companies — the Technology Innovation Center for those without lab needs and BioVentures Center for companies needing laboratories.

UI’s Cohen said the new organization allows the university to be more agile and responsive to commercialization opportunities.

“It also helps us figure out what people do in this area, where to call and who to get answers from,” Cohen said. “We’re trying to focus the public’s attention on where this all gets done.”

One change being planned is the creation of a concierge position within UI, Cohen said. As with a hotel concierge, the staff member will direct faculty or staff members with discoveries to the proper resources and assist them in exploring commercialization.

UNI is less involved in technology transfer than UI or ISU because of the drastically smaller amount of research done at UNI, Pilkington said. Its biggest accomplishments have been in bio-based lubricants and biobased binders for the metal castings industry.

“You’ll see more companies spun out of our (small business) incubator than out of our technologies,” Pilkington said.

(c)2012 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). Visit The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) at thegazette.com. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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