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March 5, 2015

Administration emphasizes research commercialization

“Innovation, entrepreneurship and partnership have to be as key to Pitt’s culture as is our commitment to teaching and research excellence and community service,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher told the University community in a Feb. 18 letter that outlined the administration’s plans to help move Pitt innovations into the marketplace.

Citing the commercialization of research results as a form of research impact, a creator of economic growth and an opportunity for partnering with the business sector, Gallagher said the University’s expanded efforts will enable Pitt to have an even greater impact in its mission to make the world better through knowledge.

Gallagher said the University will focus on:

• Reducing internal barriers to partnering with business;

• Strengthening the local economic ecosystem that supports commercialization efforts;

• Expanding and effectively managing partnerships, and

• Supporting and celebrating faculty and student innovation.

The chancellor enumerated efforts he said already are moving the University in the right direction in these areas.

In addition to the launch of the Innovation Institute in 2013 (see Nov. 21, 2013, University Times), the chancellor noted that a new vice chancellor for economic engagement position is being established, the University is creating an internal grant fund to support early-stage commercialization and prototyping, and is expanding the Innovation Institute’s Pitt Ventures commercialization startup program.

In addition, he said, the provost is asking academic units to consider recognizing and rewarding translational research in such decisions as for promotion and tenure and, in conjunction with the general counsel, is establishing an ad hoc committee to review University policies and practices and recommend changes that will aid in disseminating University-generated technology.

In addition, Pitt and UPMC have pre-negotiated a set of licensing, royalty and other terms that will speed commercialization of University-generated medical advances.

In that non-exclusive agreement, Pitt’s Innovation Institute will work with UPMC’s commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, to move research advances to the marketplace.


The chancellor’s message is posted at

—Kimberly K. Barlow