A new program at Arizona State University will market research to outside companies.
Arizona Technologies Enterprises will link university professors with health care groups and other companies, or even the government.
Leading universities are changing the ways research is marketed to the outside world, said Peter Slate, the ASU program’s newly named chief executive officer.
Some studies rank top universities based on the number of patents, start-up companies and inventions that are generated per million dollars spent on research.
"This is not about commercializing for commercialization’s sake," Slate said.
"It’s not really just about the money. You get the technologies out there and in play and they end up becoming lifesaving therapies," he said.
"They become ways to make the world a better place. You can do well by doing good."
The bulk of the revenue will go to the professors involved in the research and to their equipment and laboratories, Slate said.
The program will work well for researchers who don’t have the time or expertise to best market themselves to the business world, said Anshuman Razdan, director of the Partnership for Research in Stereo Modeling at ASU.
He and several graduate students are working on a computer program that analyzes objects, such as handwriting, in 3-D.
The handwriting analysis project was started to help the Hispanic Research Center decipher writing from 12 th and 13 th century manuscripts from Spain and Mexico.
Now he sees applications in the business world, or government intelligence, he said.
"This is what we do, sit around a white board and figure out what to do," he said Thursday, gesturing to a board filled with equations and his office piled with paperwork.
"What we don’t do is figure out how to market (this research)."
The ASU program signals a change in perspective, Slate said, but professors will continue to take an academic focus on their research.
"The last thing you want is a professor sitting there in his lab thinking, ‘OK, I have technology that may have 12 applications,’ and he only chooses the one that’s going to yield him the most money," Slate said. "It’s really not what the university system is about."