Campus News

New Structure for Commercialization and Economic Development Units

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2013) ― University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has announced an administrative structure for the units previously operating under the Office of Commercialization and Economic Development.  In streamlining the administrative structure last year to make it more efficient and effective, President Capilouto eliminated the position of vice president for commercialization and economic development.

Following that, he asked a workgroup to evaluate both the strengths and challenges of efforts in the areas of intellectual property, commercialization and economic development.  The committee, chaired by Vice President for Research Jim Tracy, was charged with creating the administrative structure -- and reporting lines -- to focus these efforts and enhance them.

"These functions are a critical part of our research and land-grant mission," Capilouto said. "And after several months of examination, I am pleased to announce we are moving forward with several key initiatives even as the process of evaluation and further development in these areas will continue."

 Steps the president has authorized include:

•           Coldstream Research Campus will report to Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday. The 735-acre research park is now home to more than 65 companies, employing in excess of 1,000 employees in areas as diverse as biotechnology and equine health. The campus also plays an integral role in the city’s landscape with a 225-acre city park and nearly 2-mile section of the Legacy Trail, which connects downtown Lexington to the Kentucky Horse Park. Perhaps as important, Coldstream is self-sustaining with ground lease revenues covering operating expenses and no debt. Its potential for further real estate and business development, which will add to the healthy financial portfolio of the institution, clearly align it with UK's finance and administration responsibilities.

•           Centers for intellectual property (IP) incubation and commercialization will report to Vice President for Research Jim Tracy. Reflecting a robust research enterprise, UK is home to a series of incubators and development vehicles for the intellectual property created by stellar faculty and staff. The question is how best to move that IP toward the commercial marketplace, benefiting both the inventor and the institution. The Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center (ASTeCC) comprises more than 37,000 square feet of office and laboratory space, which is designed to house research faculty and private companies. Moreover, the licensing and marketing arm for these commercialization efforts is Kentucky Technology, Inc. (KTI). Both KTI and the Intellectual Property Development Office will report to Tracy as well. Capilouto asked Tracy, as part of this alignment, to study and provide recommendations for how UK can further maximize these important efforts. The overarching questions include: do we have the appropriate staffing levels and resources identified and targeted to adequately assist our inventors in the development of their intellectual property? Are we ensuring the most appropriate mechanisms for commercial development of our intellectual property and in a way that maximizes the return on the investment the university is making?

•           Key initiatives and programs that help foster entrepreneurial efforts and small business development will report to the Gatton College of Business & Economics and to the College of Agriculture. Specifically, the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship will report directly to Gatton Dean David Blackwell. Von Allmen activities are supported by federal and state awards in close conjunction with the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation. The Small Business Development Center, which administers nearly $4 million annually in local, state and federal awards, will join the Department of Agricultural Economics in the College of Agriculture to be coordinated with current community and economic development programs in Cooperative Extension.

"These changes create clearer reporting lines and, I believe, an administrative structure that will develop stronger synergies among all of these critical efforts," Capilouto said. "But structure is only part of the equation. In the coming months, I expect recommendations that we can act upon that will further underscore our commitment in the areas of intellectual property, commercialization and economic development.

"These areas reflect yet one more way that the land-grant mission, so central to our identity as a university, continues to evolve and renew itself over time. In that way, and in so many others, our vibrant institution continues honor the promise that undergirded our founding nearly 150 years ago and that continues to guide us today."