USF Research News

Milken Institute Ranks USF in Top 20 of American Universities for Technology Transfer

April 21, 2017

Report: USF surges to 19th, up from a 74th place standing in 2006

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TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida is ranked 19th in the nation out of 200 universities analyzed by the prestigious Milken Institute in a new report examining how institutions are faring in turning basic research into technologies, products and companies – a process known as "technology transfer."

The report, "Concept to Commercialization: The Best Universities for Technology Transfer", underscores USF’s rise as a leading national research university and a leader in generating new United States patents, spinoff companies and commercialization agreements.

“This top 20 ranking reflects our laser-focused strategy to create a meaningful impact on the future through research, innovation and invention,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “As Florida’s first emerging preeminent research university, we’ve created a strong and vibrant research enterprise and an entrepreneurial culture, and leveraged those attributes to strengthen our regional economy.”

USF’s new standing was a sharp improvement from the first time it was ranked on these metrics by Milken at 74th place in 2006. Since then, USF’s research grants and contracts funding rose from $310 million to last year’s $458 million.

USF has seen substantial growth in key indicators of commercialization activities: USF’s executed commercialization agreements rose from 21 to last year’s 133. USF also had 105 U.S. patents granted in fiscal year 2016 and 90 for the 2015 calendar year, placing USF in the top 10 nationally among public universities for the past six years in generating new inventions.

USF continues to generate new startups with 9 new companies in 2016, and has facilitated the formation of 50 startup companies in the last 5 years. USF’s research grants and contracts funding rose from $310 million to $458 million in 2016.

“South Florida stepped up its game in research and commercialization,” the Milken report said.



The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank focused on increasing global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs, and improve health and issues policy recommendations through data-driven research. The report scored universities on their ability to generate new patents, enter into licensing agreements, generate licensing income and create new startups. University research and technology transfer helps the private sector provide the competitive advantage to create jobs and wage growth, the report said.

“USF is known across the nation not just for its high levels of research activity, but for its community of innovators and inventors,” said Paul Sanberg, USF’s senior vice president for Research, Innovation & Economic Development. “The tireless work of our faculty, staff and students who are committed to improving the lives of others through new technologies, medicines and products drives our upward trajectory.”

The Florida High Tech Corridor region, which encompasses Tampa to Gainesville to Orlando, occupied three spots among top-rated universities. The University of Florida ranked third and University of Central Florida ranked 22nd.

The USF Innovation Enterprise generates an estimated $400 million in statewide impact each year, sustains more than 3,000 jobs and produces about $52 million in tax revenues, according to a recent analysis by the Washington Economics Group. The USF Innovation Enterprise – which encompasses the university’s operations in patents and licensing, commercialization, the USF Research Park and the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator.

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The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the Top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as “Emerging Preeminent,” placing USF in an elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.