Commercialisation of university research

Publication Details

This occasional paper uses new data from the University Commercialisation Offices of New Zealand to look at trends in the commercialisation of university research in New Zealand. The paper discusses the importance of research to innovation and hence, to economic growth. If also discusses aspects of the current university research funding system and looks at business investment in research in New Zealand.

Author(s): Roger Smyth and Warren Smart, Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: March 2012

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Key Findings

Research commercialisation income in the eight New Zealand universities rose between 2003 and 2008.

Research commercialisation income increased as a proportion of total university income.

The universities have improved measures of research commercialisation productivity – research commercialisation expenditure per staff member has risen, as has the ratio of commercialisation expenditure to total university equity, while the ratio of commercialisation revenue to equity has been stable.

The number of invention disclosures increased, though patents per staff member were lower in 2008 than in 2005.

The market capitalisation of and the number of staff employed by start-up companies set up to commercialise university research have both risen.

These improvements have occurred over the period when the two main university research funding mechanisms – the Performance-Based Research Fund and the Centres of Research Excellence – were phased in.

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