KSU research earns national rank

Jenna Staul

$350K in licensing among best in nation

Kent State has ranked among the top research universities in the country for its technology patenting and licensing operations.

The university brought in a total $351,680 in licensing income in the fiscal year 2008, according to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), spending $18,444,358 on research activities for the year.

The university registered six new patents that year and had 25 patent applications pending, according to AUTM.

“It’s a measure of efficiency,” said Greg Wilson, associate vice president for economic development and strategic partnership. “At Kent State, we have a modest research base, not as big as a Case Western or an Ohio State, but where we rank consistently high is scale by research dollar — licensing income per million dollars of research.”

Several products are in the early stages of development through university’s research departments, including MRI contrast agents, new anti-cancer compounds and 3D visualization technology, according to Wilson.

The university currently has a $46 million research budget funded by external donors for research in areas including bio-science, business and computer science.

AUTM reported that no start-up companies launched through the university in 2008, but Wilson said 16 companies have emerged through the university’s research.

Kent tech company Alphamicron, which is staffed by several adjunct-professors, stemmed from the university’s Liquid Crystal Institute in 1997. The business is currently housed in the university’s Centennial Research Park.

Alphamicron CEO Bahman Taheri said though his company does not license its products through Kent State, university start-up businesses can play an important role in the city’s economic development.

“You won’t have progress in the town unless you have this type of development,” Taheri said. “Most of our employees have one or two degrees of separation from the university. Either they worked there, got their degrees there or know someone from Kent State.”

President Lester Lefton said though most students are unaware of Kent State’s research operations, both the revenue and clout brought to the university through product licensing is integral to the university.

“It’s not obvious to a 19-year-old student who comes to Kent State that it affects the quality of her education,” Lefton said of the university’s research. “What you care about is the quality of the institution and does it have the resources to do what you want it to do. But they are intricately connected.”

Contact administration reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].