SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has earned its way onto another list of top institutions for tech research, this time landing at No. 19 on the Nature Index 2017's assessment of leading global institutions for commercializing technology and innovation.
The Nature Index employed a novel method for assessing the commercialization successes that track back to academic research by evaluating citations noted in patent applications. The index also normalized the data to level the playing field among schools with differing research budgets. Andrew Weyrich, the U.'s vice president for research, said that many of the ideas that later evolve into successful business enterprises have humble beginnings.
“The U.’s value of basic research has been a strong catalyst for commercial innovation and technology,” said Weyrich. “Successful commercialization starts with small discoveries in the lab that ultimately evolve into new technologies, products and services for society.
"This wonderful recognition is due to our remarkable faculty and the high-quality research that is produced through their continued dedication and hard work.”
The U. has appeared on numerous lists ranking the top schools for commercializing research innovations, including being cited by the Milken Institute in April as the top academic institution in the country for 2017. Milken's report noted the U. had earned $210 million in licensing fees from 2012-15, as well as seeding 69 new businesses.
Keith Marmer, executive director of Technology & Venture Commercialization at the U., said the rankings not only reflect well on the school, but also help when it comes to recruiting the best talent from other top-tier schools. He also noted that the recognition has a positive impact on a much wider scale.
"Whenever these lists come out, it's inevitable that I start getting calls from industry, entrepreneurs and investors," Marmer said. "Staying in the forefront of these rankings helps Salt Lake City and Utah continue to expand our ecosystem and help us maintain our status as a thriving hub of innovation."