Volume 91, Issue 23

Tuesday, October 7, 1997

frosh and go


Rewarding research

By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Gazette Staff

The University of Alberta has decided to cash in on their research findings with the help of a new company called Research Technology Management Inc..

Janice Rennie, president of RTM, said the company, which is owned by the university, received full approval on Sept. 24 and will aim to create businesses with a global impact using university technology and research.

"We will use marketing expertise, provide early management and bring in third-party investors for funding of projects," said Rennie. RTM will also be working with the Industry Liason Office and professors to help implement six spin-off companies per year.

Rennie said they hope to initiate successful companies which will encourage interaction between the university and businesses, create more dollar value out of the technology and help researchers and universities establish contact with industry.

Tim Walzak, director of the office of industry liason at Western, said there are many similar models at other universities such as Queen's and Guelph, yet this is relatively new at Western and will take time before it can reach the same aims.

"We are building and filling a pipeline," Walzak said. The office is currently looking for corporate models to fuel money and resources.

The model in place at Western right now includes licensing of technology for both small and large companies providing royalties for the university, as well as small spin-off companies.

"We want this to be an entrepreneurial university," Walzak said. The only difference in programs between universities is that Alberta is more advanced and has a better view of breadth and resources, he added.

"The University of Alberta has become a national leader in commercialized research," said Western's vice-president of research Bill Bridger.

Bridger said it is very hard to raise money for research purposes and therefore Western needs to set up a mechanism for commercial research, adding Alberta has recognized the need and is doing a good job.

W.K. Wan, associate professor in the department of chemical and biochemical engineering, said he is currently working on many projects with the industry liason office which is helping to negotiate business opportunities on their behalf.

"University is the foundation of research but we do have a responsibility to translate our knowledge in order to benefit society," Wan said. These programs not only provide more money but also create more jobs for the community, he added.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997