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Department of Defense grant to create new tech transfer center at ASU

January 13, 2014

Arizona State University has been awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to create a new Pracademic Center of Excellence in Technology Transfer to leverage ASU’s proven method and record of success to support technology transfer and commercialization from Department of Defense laboratories.

The center is a collaboration led by ASU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, in association with Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), ASU’s Security and Defense Systems Initiative and ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

Technology transfer from federal government laboratories, especially for Department of Defense laboratories, has become an increasingly important strategic objective. The new Pracademic Center of Excellence in Technology Transfer (PACE/T2) will play an important role in meeting the department’s strategy, plans, goals and metrics for substantially increasing transfer and commercialization of dual-use technologies developed in defense laboratories to the commercial marketplace.

“This award is a testimony to the innovations in technology transfer and commercialization activities that are a core principle at ASU, and our ability to adapt these methodologies to other locations and institutions,” said Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at ASU and principal investigator on the grant.

ASU has experimented to develop, implement and operate a novel approach to technology transfer and commercialization that has proven to be remarkably effective. It has undertaken an evidence-based “learn-by-doing” approach that is focused on practical aspects of stimulating entrepreneurship to enable technology transfer and successful commercialization. This “pracademic” approach has demonstrated enormous success in achieving entrepreneurially driven transfer and commercialization of technologies.

Transfer and commercialization of technologies created at ASU is managed by AzTE, the technology transfer arm for ASU, in part via the Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator led by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (EIG).

Over the past 10 years, AzTE has supported the launch and development of 67 ASU spinout companies. Spinouts based on ASU-developed technologies raised $68 million in external funding during the 2013 fiscal year. Altogether, companies licensing ASU discoveries have raised nearly $400 million in total venture funding since AzTE’s creation in 2003.

“The mix of AzTE experience and EIG’s Furnace methodology has proven itself to be a valuable tool for the technology transfer here in ASU,” said Charlie Lewis, vice president for venture development at AzTE. “We expect to deploy this range of tools to help the DOD reach its strategic objectives for technology transfer.”

ASU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group helps innovators, inventors, ideators and entrepreneurs launch their for-profit, nonprofit and more-than-profit ventures. Over the past three years, the unit has grown to encompass not just startup acceleration, but a broad range of entrepreneurship-related activities across the university, the metro area and the state. In the current fiscal year the group will support almost 80 startups.