PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – April 19, 2016 – In a new report published by the Penn Institute for Urban Research, researchers explore the changing research and development (R&D) funding picture at universities across the country, and report that universities are pursuing innovation and commercialization through new relationships with the private sector.
The report explores the specific experiences of six institutions involved in university-led innovation initiatives. The case studies also focus on university relationships with, and impacts on, the cities and communities in which the institutions are located. The six case study universities in the report are: University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Emory, University of Chicago, University of California San Francisco, and Arizona State University.
While university approaches differ based on their singular histories and geographies, the report reveals some common university characteristics that promote innovation: an embrace of an ecosystem approach, dedicated physical space, size and density, leadership, and experience.
The report, titled University-led Innovation Initiatives: Lessons from PRAI 2015, and authored by Penn IUR’s Cara Griffin, Co-Director Eugenie Birch, and Laura Barron, grew out of the 2015 Penn IUR Roundtable on Anchor Institutions (PRAI). The roundtable convened leaders of six university technology transfer offices—the offices responsible for translation of university innovations to the marketplace—to discuss university-led innovation initiatives. Participants at PRAI 2015 discussed the changing fiscal and cultural environment in which commercialization of intellectual property (IP) is taking place, the factors necessary for universities to adapt and thrive in this changing climate, and the interrelationships between innovation initiatives and universities’ host communities.
PRAI is a leadership “think tank” that convenes executive session meetings of high-level anchor institution leaders to explore innovative strategies in urban development. Since 2004, Penn IUR has facilitated seven roundtables. Through PRAI, Penn IUR is building a national network of anchors with strong public missions and is expanding scholarship on the role of urban anchors.