Record-setting year for U of S innovations

Technologies licensed through the University of Saskatchewan earned $13.3 million in 2013-14 - a record year for the university and its innovators.

"Over the past several years we have focused on developing long-term relationships with companies that span both commercialization and research," said Glen Schuler, managing director of the university's Industry Liaison Office (ILO). "We have begun to see real dividends from this approach."

Licensing revenue from all sources at the U of S grew to just over $13.3 million, an 11 per cent increase over the $12.0 million from the previous year. Schuler explained that part of the increase comes from favourable exchange rates.

The U of S is ranked second in Canada in terms of licensing revenue, according to the 2012-13 Association of University Technology Managers Survey.

Over half the proceeds from technology licenses go to U of S inventors, or to support further research. Current examples include licenses for technologies related to vaccines, therapies, cereals, pulse and horticultural crops (cherries, tomatoes, apples), crop varieties and various life sciences applications.

"Our goal is to create a supportive and effective environment to transfer technology into the marketplace." Schuler said. "We are also helping develop entrepreneurial education programs, supporting the development of business accelerators, and working to create an early stage investment fund to keep new companies in the province."

An example of one such program is the ILO's flagship Tech Venture Challenge, a business start-up competition which offers more than $50,000 in prize money as well as professional business mentoring and support for its winners. This year, Innocorps Research took top honours with a mobile water treatment system that reduces costs for oil service companies.

The ILO also co-sponsors, with Innovation Place, the annual Award of Innovation to recognize U of S researchers whose innovations have been commercialized. This year, Curtis Pozniak and Pierre Hucl were honoured for their exemplary work in wheat genomics and breeding through the U of S Crop Development Centre. Together, their efforts have attracted $10.6 million in funding - including $8.6 million from the private sector - to create improved wheat varieties for Saskatchewan producers.

Both the Tech Venture Challenge and Award of Innovation are strongly linked to and generously sponsored by the local business community through partnership with the ILO.

Established in 2004, the ILO was created to accelerate commercialization of U of S research and knowledge. Since its inception, licensing revenue from the ILO alone has grown more than 25 fold. The ILO has consistently met its main metric of success - growing its active license portfolio.


Jennifer Thoma

Media Relations Specialist

University of Saskatchewan Marketing and Communications Team


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