USF Research News

University of South Florida breaks records for new patents, licenses and startup companies

September 30, 2014

High-impact research and a culture of innovation support the university’s success.

TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida set new records for patents, licenses, and startup companies during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, with 113 new U.S. patents (up 49 percent from last year), 91 licenses and options for USF-developed technology (up 21 percent), and 11 new startup companies (up 22 percent).

“High-impact research is what makes the USF System special,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft, in announcing the accomplishments in her annual fall address to the university community on Sep. 24. “Our success as a research university is recognized by the world, in our Top 43 ranking among all universities, both public and private, and in our standing as a global leader in producing new U.S. patents.”

USF is ranked in the top 50 universities in the nation for research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation, and has been among the top 15 universities worldwide for U.S. patents for the past four years, according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association/NAI rankings. Genshaft also announced another record: more than $428 million in contracts and grants was awarded to USF for the 2014 fiscal year, an increase of nearly $15 million over the previous year.

“USF is an engine for regional economic development and job creation,” said Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research and innovation. “Our success is the result of USF’s innovative faculty, students and staff who move their discoveries from the lab to the market and create new products and innovations that improve people’s lives.”

This year’s patents include a broad range of inventions, such as a folding armrest tray for wheelchairs, a prostate carcinogenesis predictor, a human immunosuppressive protein, and a portable lift chair.

One of the new startups is Moterum LLC, a company founded to commercialize a novel shoe design called the Gait Enhancing Mobility Shoe (GEMS). Another startup company, Ovation Diagnostics, is based on technology developed by Dr. Patricia Kruk, professor of pathology and cell biology, Morsani College of Medicine, USF Health. The technology, which received the “People’s Choice” award at the 2014 Cade Museum Prize ceremony, detects ovarian cancer using a simple, sensitive dipstick screening test to measure the urinary levels of Bcl-2, which has been found to be ten times higher in women with ovarian cancer than in healthy women.

The university has successful programs for business development, including the Student Innovation Incubator and the USF Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI), both housed in the USF Research Park on the Tampa campus, said Sanberg. TBTI expanded from 42 to 55 resident and affiliate companies during the 2014 fiscal year, an increase of 31 percent. TBTI companies have created nearly 200 high wage ($70K+) jobs in Tampa.

Sanberg credits a culture of innovation that is celebrated at USF, which is the founder and home of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), an organization with more than 3,000 members and Fellows from over 200 universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. The USF Chapter of the NAI is the organization’s largest chapter, with over 300 members who collectively hold more than 1,760 U.S. patents. USF is also home to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

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The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference and a Charter Member Institution of the National Academy of Inventors. www.usf.edu

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Source: University of South Florida Research & Innovation

Media Contact: Judy Lowry, jhlowry@usf.edu, 813-974-3181