Study calls on New York State to invest in university tech transfer
New York State should invest $20 million to $35 million annually to spin out university-based research into start-up companies, according to a study produced by Excell Partners, Inc., a state-supported seed fund partnership with the University of Rochester. The study, "Venture Capital and Seed Activity in New York State," notes that New York is second only to California in the amount of federal research funds flowing to its universities but ranks 25th in state capital for start-ups. For every $4.40 spent by California universities for R&D, that state commits $1 to help commercialize the research, the study found. In contrast, New York commits $1 for every $95 spent on R&D. "In New York, we're way behind the power curve," says Judy Albers, chief operating officer of Excell Partners and a study author. The study comes on the heels of Gov. David Paterson's establishment of a task force that's charged with finding ways to stimulate economic growth through state research institutions. The 14-member task force, led by Cornell University President David Skorton, is expected to make recommendations by December 15 on how to foster business incubation and commercialization of university research. "We've got two Ivy League universities in New York, a national research lab at Brookhaven, and eight or nine other preeminent universities," Albers says. "That's an enormous amount of intellectual capital." She hopes the study will demonstrate the need for the state to invest seed money that better corresponds to the amount of research that takes place in New York. "A million dollars ain't going to do it," Albers says. "We wanted to use this study to put real numbers to the problem. A lot of people know that we lack seed money in New York State, but they don't understand the magnitude of the solution."