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New ‘Open-Flow Innovation’ Speeds Creation of UC San Diego Start-Ups


  • Paul K. Mueller

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  • Paul K. Mueller

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Image: Paul Roben

Paul Roben Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

UC San Diego, with a $1-billion annual research program, is an impressive repository of technologies that can potentially form the basis of new companies and products, creating jobs and prosperity in the region. The university is committed to streamlining the process of getting these technologies into the hands of the entrepreneurs who can develop them for the benefit of consumers and society.

The recently formed Office of Innovation & Commercialization (OIC), a division of the Office of Research Affairs, is announcing the Open-Flow Innovation program, a new business-friendly approach to rapidly license technologies to new start-up companies on terms appropriate to the stage of development of these companies.

This program is underpinned by simplified license templates that expedite the process of transferring technologies to start-ups. In particular, these licenses are designed to remove the burden of up-front costs from a start-up company, while still allowing them to secure the technology they need to develop their businesses. An example of this is a highly simplified license for copyrighted software that exclusively transfers the software to the start-up in exchange for 5 percent equity in the company.

“The OIC,” says Paul Roben, associate vice chancellor for research and head of the new office, “is establishing an integrated innovation platform that builds a dynamic entrepreneurial culture on campus and supports a vibrant regional ecosystem of people with diverse ideas working to develop new products, create jobs, and enrich the society we live in.”

Making it easier for entrepreneurs to access technologies from UC San Diego is a crucial element of that innovation platform.

“Economic development by public universities is an important return-on-investment for the citizens of our state and our nation,” says Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. “We have established the OIC to aggressively boost UC Diego’s record of innovation and new business. The Open-Flow Innovation process enables productive creativity by our students, faculty, researchers, and staff.”

The new Open-Flow Innovation -- based on what campus innovators, investors, and business professionals have told university leaders -- minimizes virtually all of the time-consuming and bureaucratic steps university and industry clients once found so onerous, Roben says.

“We have listened to our inventors and the business community, and we have responded by simplifying and further streamlining UC San Diego’s licensing process for innovations, inventions, and discoveries with business potential.”

A web page and other associated materials about Open-Flow Innovation will be online and available later this month.

“Our campus is buzzing with remarkably creative and innovative ideas – in medicine, the arts, engineering, oceanography, the humanities – with a wealth of potential life- and world-changing discoveries being developed,” Roben says.

“Our job is to bring those creative solutions to the marketplace for the benefit of society and the world.”

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