A goal of the Office of Research and Economic Development is to drive innovation into the marketplace by expanding system investment programs. To achieve this goal, the pipeline from innovation to commercialization must have a constant flow of new technologies. With seven funding programs in place, the UM System provides opportunities for researchers at each stage along the pipeline—from basic research to those ready to launch into the marketplace. These programs are designed to complement traditional federal and state funding sources.
In 2012, the UM System’s funding programs awarded researchers more than $3.9 million. The results of these investments can be seen throughout this report. This year, our portfolio reached $6.7 million in licensing revenue and included 284 active license and option agreements, a 141% increase in five years. During this same five-year period, 2008-2012, these technologies led to 29 new companies. Last year our four campuses conducted $325.5 million in sponsored research alone.
In order to increase interdisciplinary and intercampus research collaboration, a new program just for this type of research was introduced. This $1 million fund was established with $125,000 contributions from each of the four campuses and a $500,000 match from the system. To accomodate increases in student entrepreneurship, a fund is being established to provide funding for UM student-led companies seeking development funding or business mentorship. Finally, FastTrack, a successful program from the past has been reinstated to provide gap-funding to further develop our most innovative technologies that are not quite ready for the marketplace.
The University of Missouri System’s investments are crucial to the innovation process and fuel them through the pipeline.