Erik Iverson, managing director of WARF, wants to see more industry-sponsored research at UW-Madison.
“I think this campus has done an okay job of collaborating with industry; I think this university could do better,” he said as part of the WARF’s recent Entrepreneurons event. “We need industry engaged, and the earlier we can have them involved and partner with us, the better off we are all going to be.”
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is the nonprofit technology transfer organization for UW-Madison, though it operates as an entirely separate entity from the university.
“Unlike any other tech transfer office, really in the world… we do not report up through the chancellor of the university,” he said. “And it’s that separate-ness that gives us a lot of latitude that no other university really has.”
As part of the commercialization process for inventions and discoveries, WARF takes revenues that are generated and shares them with the department from which the invention came, and also with the inventors. The rest of the money goes into WARF’s portfolio, from which the organization makes large grants back to the university each year.
Iverson says WARF receives about 400 disclosures a year, and makes about 50 license agreements each year. The yearly revenues from licensing alone is about $20 million a year, and though some valuable patents have recently expired, he says WARF is “working very diligently” to make up that lost revenue with other new inventions and commercialization efforts. Read the full story here.