UK and EKU to Partner on Technology Commercialization

Tom Martin of EKU, left, talks with UK's Ian McClure
Tom Martin, of EKU, left, talks with UK's Ian McClure. Photo by Leslie Rodriguez.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2017) Although the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University were opponents on the football field Saturday, today they are announcing a partnership aimed at growing the state’s economy, with research and intellectual property being the driving forces.

UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), led by Ian McClure, and EKU’s Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CEDET), headed by Tom Martin, reached the agreement with the full support of the two university presidents, UK’s Eli Capilouto and EKU’s Michael Benson.

“As a research university, we lead the state in success in competing for external grants. That’s the pipeline for intellectual property,” Capilouto said. "We have developed the resources and infrastructure to move some of these breakthroughs to the marketplace. We are happy to partner with EKU to provide that kind of capability for their faculty when they have discoveries, and we are grateful for the partnership.”

“Regional universities like Eastern Kentucky University conduct research and develop inventions, but the costs associated with that effort are significant for institutions focused on instruction and service to their region,” Benson said. “As a research institution, UK has the resources and organizational structure to assist EKU in the proper assessment and commercialization of basic discovery for the innovations of tomorrow. More importantly, this partnership creates a research corridor between UK and EKU, leveraging their individual strengths for the benefit of all Kentuckians.”

The terms of the agreement call for UK’s OTC to act as an independently contracted partner and service provider to EKU for intellectual property and commercialization services. The services provided by the OTC to EKU include:

  • Assistance with EKU intellectual property (IP) development efforts, including assessing the potential value and patentability or copyrightable nature of invention disclosures.
  • Assistance with EKU commercialization and IP procurement transaction costs, including market research, patent prosecution and docket management, identifying potential licensing partners, business development efforts to solicit interest in partnership, and negotiating and executing license agreements in coordination with EKU.
  • Development and/or offering of effective faculty education programs and strategies that UK uses to reach out to faculty and encourage invention disclosure and pursuit of IP protection.
  • Guidance to EKU on IP and commercialization matters, including to what UK does with non-patentable IP, particularly software.
  • Help in building a stronger EKU network by implementing process and procedures.
  • Solidification of a commercialization partnership that can help build a "research corridor" for collaborative research efforts between UK and EKU.

“We can channel the inventive activity happening at EKU through our office and collaborate and cooperate to give those ideas at EKU the best chance at succeeding,” McClure said. “It’s all about raising the bar for the Commonwealth.”

“UK and EKU’s service to each other and to the Commonwealth is the application of original knowledge created by our faculty,” Martin said. “We have a lot of challenges, like solving the ‘Kentucky uglies’ — high rates of lung cancer, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, obesity. But we also have the opportunity for collaboration in innovation, building the foundation for the inventors of tomorrow.”

Martin expressed his appreciation to McClure for his work on the agreement and also credited Jerry Pogatshnik, dean of graduate education and research at EKU, for his considerable help in making the partnership a reality.

To hear an interview about the partnership that aired on "UK at the Half" during the Sept. 9 radio broadcast of the UK and EKU football game, click here; and to download the transcript of the interview, see above to the right.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue