Gayatri Varma, PhD, executive director of the University of Maryland’s Office of Technology, says, “Entrepreneurship shouldn’t have a bad name.” In an effort to express this to faculty, the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland is making changes to the tenure and sabbatical leave policies. The tenure policy was formally changed in April, adding “activities that result in the generation and application of intellectual property through technology transfer,” to its criteria and procedures for promotion and tenure. William E. Kirwan, PhD, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, commented, “The new policy is an important part of a multifaceted effort to promote economic growth statewide through technology transfer.” The policy on sabbatical leave has also been changed. The Board of Regents has approved leave time to engage in commercialization activities.
These actions are part of a statewide push to encourage commercialization and economic growth through academic research. Kirwan claims, “We have a robust technology sector, particularly in biotechnology and telecomm. However, Maryland ranks very low in the economic impact of that R&D. The economic advantages have been taken out of state.” In order to take advantage of the intellectual property being created in the state, Maryland legislators have passed two bills. These bills aim to provide crucial funding for early-stage university technologies. The first is a venture fund of $85 million and the second is an innovation initiative of $6 million, which is specifically reserved for research universities. The University System of Maryland has also set a goal of creating at least 325 start-up companies by the year 2020, which they are currently on track to reach.
August 22, 2012
New Policies Part of Statewide Push to Promote Commercialization
Did You Know
UMD's Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, which simulates weightlessness, is one of only two such facilities in the U.S.