Universities play a critical role in the commercialization of new technologies, and Washington State University is among the research, land-grant institutions developing new knowledge making a difference locally, nationally and internationally. Our research efforts include major discoveries unmatched by any other research institution, and we have a specific mission to deliver these discoveries to the public where they can make the most impact.

In March 2013, I announced the restructuring of our commercialization activities with an eye toward strengthening our ability to deliver research results to the private sector. At the time, we had two separate offices, the Office of Intellectual Property Administration and the Washington State University Research Foundation. While this model was sufficient for our needs a decade ago when it was created, it no longer met today’s demands. We eliminated both offices and established the Office of Commercialization.

This new streamlined operational model allows for all commercialization activities at WSU to reside within the Office of Commercialization. From the initial invention disclosure to patenting, to marketing of intellectual property to licensing and commercialization deals, to collection of royalties to distribution to patent holders, these activities are now all handled by a single entity.

I am deeply committed to increasing the impact of our commercialization efforts. Toward that end, we have hired business development leaders directly into two of our colleges, with the specific goal of generating more commercial-ready research. We already are seeing positive impact from these appointments and plan to expand them in the near future.

The Office of Commercialization is still located at the WSU Research and Technology Park. WSU owns and operates the Research Park, which not only includes WSU-based departments, but also houses businesses and startups that originated from WSU research. These companies and the activities associated with them are an integral component of our economic development strategy: contributing to the economic vitality of our communities by leveraging our core competencies.

We are not yet done. We plan to increase our commercial impact by adding market intelligence, competitive landscape analyses and entrepreneurial services, and implementing a competitive early-stage commercialization fund. We will host a reception in the Compton Union Building on the Pullman campus from 3 to 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, to introduce the Office of Commercialization to many of you.

Please join me in congratulating Anson Fatland, Sita Pappu, and all the faculty and staff who helped make this transition possible. If you have questions please contact Drs. Fatland (ansonf@wsu.edu) or Pappu (spappu@wsu.edu). We look forward to seeing you at the reception.