Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio U and a real yeoman at unmasking the CIC, explains how Universities are going to Vegas with the taxpayers’ research dollars.
“Going for the Gold:: Universities Gamble Big-Time on Research” By Richard Vedder
According to the Association of University Technology Managers, universities took in $2.6 billion in license fees and royalties on patents last year. To lure this money, … there is a burgeoning university research bureaucracy.
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In a new study for the Brookings Institution, Walter D. Valdivia confirms what I long have suspected: most technology transfer offices (TTOs) lose money. His estimate based on a survey of 155 universities for 2012 is that 130 lost money–84 percent.
… even at schools where patent/licensing revenues are large, a huge proportion of the funds do not go to aid general university purposes. Of the $103 million or so generated by the University of California in 2012, only about $39 million filtered down to support the various campuses or the university’s general fund–less than the share going to inventors who shared in the proceeds of the inventions.
… is the current tendency of hundreds of schools wanting to be major research institutions a good one? Would we not be better off having, say, 100 institutions doing serious research, reducing research commitments at other institutions in favor of higher teaching loads that might lower instructional costs? The law of diminishing returns applies to research as to nearly everything else. We may well have too many so-so quality researchers addressing topics of marginal importance, with the low-hanging fruit already gathered.
If only 10 are making money, why should there be 90 others still rolling the dice?