Invention Runs Deep at UConn

On this National Inventors Day, learn more of UConn's history of innovation.

Student athlete running sprints on a campus road

(UConn photo/Sean Flynn)

Being an inventor is kind of like running a marathon. A spark of inspiration coupled with a lot of endurance, mental strength, and moral support are needed to cross the finish line.

Just like the runners who pound the pavement to achieve their goals, dozens of UConn inventors disclose new inventions each year. Some may go the distance. Others will fail. While it could take years for a discovery from an academic researcher’s lab to become a licensed technology or company, there are always lots of people cheering along the way. That is certainly true at UConn, where inventors have access to many programs that support innovation and entrepreneurship.

“UConn is not just an educational institution — invention happens here. We are committed to supporting our entrepreneurial faculty and students so their bright ideas can become products and companies that help society and the economy,” says Radenka Maric, vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship at UConn and UConn Health.

In honor of National Inventors’ Day, we’ll follow a fictional UConn inventor on her journey to transform a University discovery into a product or startup and learn more about UConn’s history of innovation along the way.

Dr. Augusta Dempsey is a professor in UConn’s School of Pharmacy. She has an active lab with grant funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop potential therapies to treat genetic conditions. She and her team are also working with engineers to develop apps for at-home genetic testing.

Number of Inventions Disclosed by UConn Researchers in FY2020
The Most in UConn's History

Eureka! Dr. Dempsey and her team make a discovery that they think has commercial potential. Who do they call? UConn’s Technology Commercialization Services (TCS) group to disclose their invention. The TCS team of licensing and startup experts will evaluate Dr. Dempsey’s technology, conduct market analysis, and help Dr. Dempsey to try to secure a patent for her invention.

Number of Patents Issued Based on UConn Inventions

Dr. Dempsey’s technology has commercial potential, and the TCS team thinks it could be the foundation for a startup company. They help Dr. Dempsey submit her patent application, advise her about incorporating her business to commercialize her technology, and introduce her to partners who might want to join her on her journey.

Number of UConn Faculty Formed New Startups in FY2020

It takes some time, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants UConn and Dr. Dempsey a patent for her innovation. TCS works with Dr. Dempsey and her startup to license the technology from UConn and provides continuing support in her efforts to develop the product and eventually sell it to consumers.

Number of New Products Created Annually as a Result of University Innovation

Hundreds of faculty, students, and staff  across UConn's campuses have taken the same journey as fictional UConn professor Augusta Dempsey. The finish line for them may not always be a startup. For other UConn inventors, success might come in the form of a licensing deal to develop custom-fit mask frames or countless patents for hybrid plants. A select few UConn-based innovations have even turned into some of the fastest-growing companies in the country. Regardless of the outcome, of success or failure, the journey always starts with inventors who turn a novel idea into a world of possibilities.

To learn more about disclosing inventions and forming startups, visit the UConn Technology Commercialization Services website.

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