Tech Transfer Has Supported Up to 4.2 Million Jobs Since 1996

San Diego, CA (June 20, 2017) – The licensing of university research has made a significant contribution to US gross domestic product (GDP), industry gross output, and jobs over the last two decades, according to an independent study commissioned by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), which was released today.

The report, “The Economic Contribution of University/Nonprofit Inventions in the United States: 1996- 2015,” documents the sizeable return that US taxpayers receive on their investment in federally-funded research. It shows that, during a 20-year period, academic patents and the subsequent licensing to industry bolstered US industry gross output by up to $1.33 trillion, US GDP by up to $591 billion, and supported up to 4,272,000 person years of employment.

“Thanks to the enduring effectiveness of the Bayh-Dole Act, American research universities, along with industry partners, are turning federally-funded basic research into new and valuable products that save and improve lives. The commercialization of university-based research to create new companies and good, high-paying jobs is a key driver of America’s innovation economy,” said BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood. “This updated study demonstrates that fact.”

AUTM President Mary Albertson said: “Some of today’s most important science—from life- saving medicines to game-changing technologies—arose from research at universities. Rocket fuel, insulin, pacemakers and Google, just to name a few inventions that have made the world a better place. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we protect and strengthen the policies that afford us strong patent rights to ensure we all have access to the next generation of innovations.”

The study, which was conducted by technology transfer experts and former senior economic consultants, is based on data gathered by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) in its annual Licensing Activity Survey. The most recent 2015 survey showed:

  • 1,012 start-up companies were formed, an increase of 11 percent from 2014, making a direct impact on local economies with more than 72 percent of the new businesses remaining in the institution’s home state
  • 15,953 new US patent applications were filed, a gain of nearly 15 percent, and 6,680 US patents were issued in fiscal year 2015, up 5 percent
  • 879 new products, which have benefitted countless lives, were introduced into the market.

“Since the Bayh-Dole Act was passed 37 years ago to harness academic research potential, thousands of inventions have transitioned from the lab to the marketplace,” said AUTM CEO Dr. Stephen Susalka. “This report illustrates the profound impact that academic technology transfer—the commercialization of research—has had, and continues to have, on the world.”

“We cannot take tech transfer, or the US patent system upon which it is based, for granted.  Preserving this system is critical to ensuring US economic revival and spurring the next wave of American innovation in the life sciences,” said Greenwood. “As illustrated by the over 60 countries represented at the BIO International Convention this week, the partnerships between government, academic researchers, and industry is vital to innovation economies the world over.”

The report was co-authored by Lori Pressman, Mark Planting, Robert Yuskavage, Dr. Sumiye Okubo, Carol Moylan and Jennifer Bond.

The report is available at and

About BIO

BIO is the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO’s blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.

About AUTM

The Association of University Technology Managers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing research to life by supporting and enhancing the global academic technology transfer profession through education, professional development, partnering and advocacy. AUTM’s more than 3,200 members represent managers of intellectual property from more than 350 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals around the world as well as numerous businesses and government organizations.
To learn more about AUTM, visit


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