Innovative Ideas Flourish With Support from Small Businesses and Universities
WASHINGTON – Today, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development heard from experts on cultivating the innovation pipeline from universities to small businesses.
“Studies show that when universities and firms have both close personal and geographical links, these connections help produce greater innovative outcomes. Ohio’s colleges and universities spent nearly $2.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2018 on research and development activities, landing the 12th District on the R&D state ranking. Ohio State University, which has campuses in my district, led the state with $875 million in R&D expenditures, and is ranked 25th of American research universities,” said Ranking Member Troy Balderson (R-OH). “Institutions that take advantage of both personal and geographical links between R&D and entrepreneurship are able to effectively transform potential into product.”
Witnesses Highlight Various Approaches to Collaboration
“In Oxford, Ohio, we seek to create a vibrant, innovative, and forward-looking organization, comprising constituents from Miami University, the City of Oxford, and local small businesses. All working collaboratively to advance ideas, inventions and innovations with real economic value to the market place,” said Dr. Gregory P. Crawford, President, Miami University, in Oxford, OH. “…Miami has added an approach that pulls in IP [intellectual property] from companies and national labs and develop it further right in Oxford, Ohio with the intention of applying it for commercial and social benefit. For example, patents developed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base were shared with us to see whether we could discover uses for dormant or short-scale ideas.”
“Start-ups entering the Valley [of Death] can die on the vine – nobody buys, the intellectual property is not defensible, a capable founding team can’t be recruited,” said Dr. John Younger, Vice President of Science and Technology, University City Science Center, in Philadelphia, PA. “These companies raise money in incremental steps, with each new infusion of cash specifically used to achieve a developmental step that will justify the next infusion of cash.”
“Because the benefits of basic research are so diffuse and long-term, few private sector companies are willing to fund it on their own,” said Ms. Sheila Martin, Vice President of Economic Development and Community Engagement, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, in Washington, DC. “Once the value of that research has become more apparent, the private sector leverages federal investment in basic research and invests its own funds to further develop it into innovative new products and industries. Universities collaborate with the private sector to make that happen.”
“Delivering novel technologies to the marketplace provides a value well beyond the obvious use of the technology. Supporting small businesses and innovation fuels entire community growth,” said Dr. Ethan Mann, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Sharklet Technologies, Inc., in Aurora, CO. “As industry and the business community continue to collaborate and work together to support life sciences and these important innovations the industry will continue to grow and thrive while seeing more innovations coming out of our great state and the entire country.”