University of California First in Research Leading to U.S. Patented Inventions

May 16, 1997

By Terry Colin, [email protected]

The University of California and its affiliated national laboratories produce more research leading to patented inventions than any other public or private research university or laboratory, according to a study for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

UC research published in scientific journals was cited as a basis for a U.S. invention in 3,125 instances during fours years in which patents were examined by the NSF study. The study is, according to the NSF, the most thorough examination of the scientific foundation of American patents and shows that publicly financed science lies at the heart of most commercial innovations.

"This is another excellent indicator of just how well the University of California does when compared to other research institutions," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. "And how powerfully university research drives the economy."

"The bridge from universities to industry is key. This is a strategic time to invest in university-industry partnerships that put the products of university research directly to work in the economy," Atkinson said.

The NSF study, which ranked the top 25 most frequently cited research institutions, showed that when the research was broken down by topic, UC campuses had 2,106 citations in biomedical papers, 288 in chemistry, 483 in physics and 248 in engineering and technology.

After the citations were totaled by individual campuses among the top 25 research universities, UC San Francisco ranked fifth in biomedical references with 930, UCLA was ninth with 642 and UC San Diego was 13th with 534.

In chemistry, UC Berkeley ranked fifth with 139 references, UCLA was 15th with 74 and UC San Diego was 24th with 65.

In physics, UC Santa Barbara was ninth with 110 citations, UC Berkeley was 11th with 100, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was 17th with 80, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was 19th with 74, Los Alamos National Laboratory was 22nd with 63 and UC San Diego was 25th with 56.

In engineering and technology, Berkeley was third with 189 references and UCLA was 14th with 59.

The study, conducted by CHI Research, Inc., for the NSF, found strong evidence that publicly financed scientific research funded by the federal government or nonprofit agencies at both public and private research universities and laboratories plays a surprisingly important role in breakthroughs and inventions produced by private industry in the United States.

The study concluded that publicly financed science research was cited 73 percent of the time in research papers leading to patents as the basis for the discovery or innovation. Private companies paid for the rest of the patent research.

CHI examined the science references on the front pages of U.S. patents during four years, 1987, 1988, 1993 and 1994, looking at all 397,660 patents issued. It is, according to the NSF, the most thorough examination of the scientific foundation of American patents and shows that publicly financed science lies at the heart of most commercial innovations.

To obtain a copy of the report, "The Increasing Linkage Between U.S. Technology and Public Science," contact CHI Research, Inc. by phone at (609) 546-0600 or e-mail at [email protected]

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