PROVO, Utah Brigham Young University has been recognized as the best in the nation at turning research dollars into inventions and new companies. The July 19 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education also noted that BYU ranks third among American universities at earning income from inventions relative to research spending.
Some of BYU's top-selling inventions include a drug that treats a rare form of leukemia, water modeling software and a digital hearing aid. When BYU professors and students develop a research advance that shows commercial promise, the university obtains patents and forms agreements with corporations to market the new inventions.
"BYU professors and students are achieving the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to developing commercial applications for research," said Lynn Astle, director of BYU's technology transfer office. "They are working on solutions to world problems and have proven quite successful, even without much of the resources available at large research institutions."
Brother Astle and his co-workers are excited about one of the university's newest technologies, a method of building carbon fiber structures that are 12 times stronger than steel. The product has been licensed to a new Utah company formed to commercialize it.
BYU earns $3 million to $5 million from inventions and creative works each year. The university generally passes on about half of this income to the inventing professors and puts the rest into licensing costs and further research.