Healthy Economy

Cradle of Innovation

With a $275 million portfolio, OSU researchers work with entrepreneurs to nurture economic development.

Brian Wall, Office of Commercialization and Corporate Development
Brian Wall, Office of Commercialization and Corporate Development

With a research enterprise of more than $275 million and a history of successful partnerships with industry, Oregon State University helps companies from discovery through commercialization to solve complex research issues and develop innovative new technologies. OSU research is driven by the university’s commitment to sustain healthy ecosystems, a healthy economy and healthy people.

The OSU research community through the years has valued collaboration and an entrepreneurial spirit. Leadership plans to reinforce its support of innovative organizational structures that enable a diverse portfolio of both individual and team-based research. It includes a healthy spectrum of fundamental and applied research. Undergraduate and graduate education will continue to develop leaders and sustain a work force that meets current and anticipated employment needs.

OSU’s Vice President for Research Rick Spinrad is working with a team to develop a comprehensive Research Agenda. Defining the university’s research values and principles, thrusts, and implementation plans, the plan demonstrates that support of commercialization and corporate development are increasingly integral to the future contributions of the state’s land grant institution.

The diverse OSU research portfolio has grown dramatically – for instance, OSU industrial research agreements have risen by 57% over the past three years. In addition, OSU start-ups are fueling the Oregon economy. In the past five years, eight start-up companies were created, based on licensed OSU intellectual property. These eight start-ups have attracted more than $95 million in investment capital and created more than 180 new jobs in the state. An additional six start-up companies are sponsoring OSU research projects using OSU facilities or equipment, employing current OSU students or in other ways benefiting from OSU resources. Nine additional companies are currently emerging from the use of OSU intellectual property.

With increasing innovations and commercial opportunities, the Research Office has been transforming operations to keep pace. OSU’s former Office of Technology Transfer is now the Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development (OCCD), directed by Brian Wall. Focusing on connecting entrepreneurs, investors and existing companies to OSU’s capabilities, and helping transform research into applications that impact the world, the OCCD is the bridge between researchers and commercial entities, from Oregon-based start-ups to large international companies.

The newest member of the OCCD team, Dan Whitaker, a “serial entrepreneur” with experience in 16 start-up companies, is working throughout OSU to guide new business creation and corporate development. The result will be a substantial increase in start-up activity and connections with existing companies.