UNC research often results in improved products and processes that have significant societal, and oftentimes commercial, value. The translation of research into new applications, tools, and know-how is an important extension of the UNC mission.
Between February and August of 2009, the UNC Office for Research, in collaboration with multidisciplinary advisory teams, looked at the UNC campus “culture” of discovery and innovation; the ways we work in partnership with business to move innovations forward towards commercialization, and how our innovative activity translates into economic development outcomes through the commercialization of university technologies. Through this process, we came to two key and common realizations. First, technology transfer must be conceptualized differently than it is at present in order to fully understand, support, and realize the multiple benefits from this work. Second, innovation and technology development require collaboration and partnership—within campuses, between campuses, and with outside partners—so the commercialization of technology is a simpler process.
A commitment to addressing those issues has led to the development of a new UNC innovation and technology development mission, and 6 recommendations to actualize that mission across the university. The mission and recommendations, as well as additional information on this initiative, are contained in the report “Innovate-Collaborate-Accelerate: The UNC Vision for Innovation and Technology Development”. Between September 2009 and August 2010, UNC campuses will be working to implement these recommendations towards increasing innovative activity and the impact of university technologies on North Carolina and society at-large.