Developing Technology that Transforms the Marketplace

photo of people in the lab

Consider for a moment your smartphone.

Within its aluminum and glass casings are technologies derived from publicly funded federal research. Undergirding all of the apps, services, and software are global platforms and utilities developed through basic and applied scientific discovery:

  • The Internet was an early project for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – a high-risk, high-reward research arm of the Department of Defense created after the former Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik.
  • Two Stanford students – with support from the National Science Foundation– developed a new search algorithm in the 1990’s. The company that developed from that early innovation is now known as Google.
  • Voice-recognition software is an early DARPA project, and now supports civilian and industry platforms like Siri.

The University of Kentucky, also, has a rich history in developing technology that transforms the marketplace.

The earliest technology behind touch-screen systems was pioneered by a former UK faculty member, Samuel Hurst, with the support of federal research funding.

From it, entire industries were transformed as technology improved over the years: entrepreneurs developing new patents that transformed the technology for new applications.

But it started with an idea.

The UK Office of Technology Commercialization is a critical element of our mission to the Commonwealth and beyond, by supporting and raising awareness for the entrepreneurial work on our campus. Together, the ingenuity of these members of the UK family brings creative solutions to market for public benefit.

UK has more than 600 worldwide patent assets, including issued patents and patent applications—placing UK among the top 100 worldwide universities for patent grants.

UK also has more than 100 active licenses, which have returned more than $2.3 million in revenues to the University to foster additional research.

We want to see these numbers continue to grow.

Collectively, this work reflects a strong and diverse research enterprise that mirrors some of Kentucky’s most vital industries: drug development and design, energy, plant biotech and equine health, as well as innovative materials for medical devices, implants, and drug delivery systems.

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, more than half of all basic, translational, and applied university-led research happens at the University of Kentucky.

Increasingly, our success in research that is relevant to Kentucky has broad applications across the world. This work contributes to the entrepreneurial backbone of the United States’ that has fueled the world’s economy for decades.

As Kentucky’s flagship, research university, we are an important part of the innovation pipeline.  These are important stories we will continue to share with lawmakers, students, alumni, and supporters who invest in this place.

We are tackling the questions of our day: How do we help more people prosper? How do we build a quality workforce in Kentucky? How do we position the Commonwealth as a place for business? How do we improve the health and welfare of the people we serve?

We are the University for Kentucky. Though our reach and scale have expanded since 1865, UK’s future remains inextricably linked with the state we are proud to lead and to serve.