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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tech Launch AZ is raking in the awards: named Arizona’s academic Innovator of the Year

Jesus Barrera

Geography and Geoscience Freshman Manny Lin and Pre-Business Freshman Linjie Liu read about Tech Launch Arizona, while visiting the building on Monday afternoon.

On Nov. 12, Tech Launch Arizona was recognized as Arizona’s Innovator of the Year in the academic field at the 12th annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation event held in Phoenix with more than 1,000 people in attendance. The award was presented by both the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The award is given to an accredited institution of higher education within Arizona that has achieved success in research and development for technological innovation and commercialization.

TLA is an organization that was founded in 2013 and works to help commercialize the many innovations produced on campus by research work. In addition, TLA uses its resources to help faculty develop and expand upon their research.

Over the past year, TLA was able to acquire 213 invention disclosures, execute 83 licensing options and help establish 12 startup companies.

TLA has grown over the years and has been able to change the culture at the UA by investing in the work of faculty.

“We are funding more patents on the inventions we receive. That requires more than just filing applications, it represents a sustained investment over years to yield issued patents, and that process that is now bearing fruit.” John Geikler, TLA’s assistant director in Physical Sciences Licensing, said.

In addition, the way that TLA has been able to deploy its resources has allowed it to achieve success in its brief time at the UA while building a culture of innovation at the university.

“Being that TLA [now] has more resources than previously allocated, it has allowed us to achieve the goals that we set,” said Rakhi Gibbons, assistant director at TLA in Biomedical and Life Science Licensing. “We are trying to help faculty move their research forward, and having the resources to put behind it has changed the culture on campus.”

Over the years TLA has been able to make the process of innovation at the UA easier for faculty members.

“Before TLA, a lot of faculty had to write their own patent applications or even pay patent attorney fees from their own pockets,” Lisa Lin, TLA’s licensing manager for the College of Medicine, said. “Now TLA definitely made that process a lot easier. More and more faculty are becoming interested in having their innovations commercialized.”

TLA’s relationship with faculty members at the UA and its relationships within the community have allowed it continue to grow rapidly.

“As for the future, we’re well-positioned for continued growth,” David Allen, the vice president of TLA, said.

Allen believes that through continued work within the UA and the community, the potential for growth at TLA is tremendous.

“There’s a substantial upside in that there is still a great number of people who we can engage with, both internally in terms of faculty, researchers and graduate students,” he said. “Externally, we’ll continue growing our network of alumni and technology experts to help move UA technologies out into the market.”

As a result of the hard work that TLA put in over the past years they have positioned themselves well for future successes. As Arizona’s Innovator of the Year, TLA’s cultural transformation at the UA to one of efficient and bold innovation has been recognized.

Follow Sebastian Laguna on Twitter.

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