Assessment of University Technology Transfer Efficiency in the Context of Medical Device Technologies
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Data to understand the inventiveness and technology transfer process for medical devices in India is lacking and majority of medical devices are imported. The presence of a medical school in a university system is expected to enhance healthcare inventiveness. Universities with medical schools have 2.5 times more R&D expenditure and productivity than universities without medical schools. Therefore, the presence or absence of medical schools in universities serves as interesting samples for technology transfer analysis. This thesis focuses on medical device inventiveness and technology transfer office efficiencies of American universities. Three sample sets are used. The first is data from 1242 US universities, of which 734 had medical schools, and their Technology Transfer Office (TTO) productivity from years 1999-2008. The second consisted of 5693 medical device patents filed at USPTO by universities worldwide during years 1999-2008, including US universities. The third consisted of 32 cochlear implant university based patents from 7 primary patent classes in USPTO. Universities involved in medical device research (MDU) and universities not involved in medical device research (NMDU) are compared in our study to understand differences in their technology transfer activities. Initially, Social network analysis is used to understand the interrelatedness of technologies in university based research using patent classes. Degree, betweenness and closeness centrality of 32 cochlear implant patents (out of 345 overall filed patents in USPTO including corporate filings), showed the importance of universities’ R&D contribution to the overall evolution of cochlear implant technology. Dynamics in terms of emergence and disappearance of technologies (represented by US patent classes in years 1977 to 2012), are identified. Our study highlights that universities' research focus within medical device research is confined to few technology classes like surgery, drugs and body treating compositions for therapeutic purposes and image analysis. In these technology areas, universities share of patent holding is found to be more compared to other medical device technologies. Multivariate OLS and binary logistic regressions are used to understand university characteristics that influences amount of patenting by universities. Our study attempts to delineate and highlight university characteristics that may influence amount of patenting in general, i.e., across all technologies and specifically those university characteristics that may influence more patenting in medical device technologies. Our study establishes that university characteristic variables like age, public/private ownership and research productivity influences amount of patenting by universities in general, across all technologies. However, additional university characteristics like presence of medical school and expenditure on legal fees are found influencing amount of patenting in medical device technologies by universities. Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is used in our attempt to understand the efficiency of universities in transferring their technologies to industries. Interesting insights are obtained on observing slack obtained during DEA. Our study highlights that some universities may have to reduce their research expenditure in large scales and number of employees working in their technology transfer offices in large scales compared to other universities in order to improve their efficiency in technology transfer process. Our study establishes that in order to improve technology transfer efficiencies, MDUs with higher research expenditure may have to reduce their research expenditure in large volumes compared to universities with lesser research expenditures. However, these MDUs may not be required to greatly reduce their technology transfer employees as compared to universities with lesser research expenditures, in order to improve their technology transfer efficiencies. Moreover, MDUs generating more number of invention disclosures and receiving more faculty awards annually can increase their patenting, licensing and startups in smaller volumes, in order to improve their technology transfer efficiencies, as compared to universities generating lesser invention disclosures and receiving lesser faculty awards, which can increase their patenting and licensing in larger volumes.
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