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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA to corporatize research

A new UA corporation aims to make campus research more efficient and available to the public.

The UA administration is developing the basis of a daughter entity to the UA Foundation. It hopes to increase resources to transition university research into the marketplace.

Provost Meredith Hay announced the new UA Research Corporation (UARC) Oct. 28 at the IdeaFunding conference.

UARC’s structure has been debated for eight months, said Pat Jones, director of the Office of Technology Transfer. According to Jones, the development is part of on-going changes in the university’s academic structure by the administration.

The corporation’s creation targets the expansion of public-private partnerships. It aims to generate more resources and partners “”to help translate discoveries into innovations available for public use,”” Jones said.

Having an entity separate from the university to attract more resources makes implementing processes simpler, which is the real upside of UARC according to Jones. Translating discoveries into innovations takes a lot of effort, Jones said, and the corporation should broaden the possibilities and make their execution easier.

Possibilities of synergies between departments and new structures are part of that process. Streamlining and making UA entities as efficient as possible is the goal, Jones said.

“”For example, when we help faculty create start-ups, we’re not able to take equity in (them). So we take a form of stock option. (It’s) cumbersome to implement. Efficiency is obtained by doing things in kind of the most efficient way possible,”” he said.

Jones’ office, which reports to the Office of the Vice President for Research, will be part of the new structure. Vice President for Research Leslie Tolbert said it’s unclear now which of her other offices will be part of UARC.

The idea for the new structure came from Hay, Tolbert said.

“”The framework for what needs to be accomplished has been really kind of defined by the provost and her experience in seeing what the university needs and what the community needs,”” Jones said.

Although the “”general thrust”” of it is known, details are still being worked out. Soon, he said, a consulting group will be established, and in the next six to nine months the corporation is expected to be put in place.

He referenced Arizona State University’s Arizona Technology Enterprises as an example for what UA’s model will look like.

The corporation should report to the UA Foundation in “”particular ways,”” but would have an independent board. Funding would come in part from services it will provide to the university, from the state and the corporation’s own fundraising.

“”It’ll tie perhaps in new ways to the business school and its programs and entrepreneurship,”” he said.

According to Jones, the relationship between faculty members looking to market their discoveries through the university won’t change. “”There should be more resources available for the faculty to draw upon,”” he said.

 

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