Research results commercialized at Guangdong fair
Nearly 700 agreements on the commercialization of technologies were signed at the first China University Scientific and Technological Achievements Fair held late last month in Huizhou, Guangdong province, with total contracted value of about 4 billion yuan ($589.6 million).
Experts said that universities, with many top research personnel, have produced abundant scientific and technological innovations.
In 2016, Chinese universities invested a total of 3.8 billion yuan in research and filed more than 184,000 patent applications. Nearly 122,000 patents were granted to them that year.
However, the industrialization of the achievements has been “not so satisfactory”, said industry insiders.
Lu Chuan, vice-president at the Chengdu Research Institute of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, said industrializing innovative achievements from universities involve three parties — the achievement owners, transferrers and users.
In the past, the universities played the roles of all three parties, he said. “But the universities’ advantages are their research capabilities, not market operation, so there were few successful cases.”
Later, the universities realized they had to commercialize their achievements by cooperating with companies and borrowing their capital. Companies showed strong support for such cooperation. However, this model still has challenges, as companies pay more attention to commercial value while universities focus on technical value.
“Today, Chinese universities are looking for new innovation commercialization models that cater to their own characteristics,” Lu said.
Tsinghua University founded Tsinghua Holdings in 2003, based on its integrated technology resources. With initial registered capital of 2.3 billion yuan, the company industrializes the university’s research achievements in market approaches. It achieved sales revenue of 95.6 billion yuan last year.
“Tsinghua Holdings develops quickly because it relies on Tsinghua University’s powerful scientific research capability and has a well-established industrial layout, operating 70 high-tech parks and 144 startup incubators around the country, which will support the industrialization of the university’s technical fruits,” said Wang Biao, an executive at the company.
Nanjing University of Science and Technology established the China-university Intellectual Property Operation Platform.
total value of contracts signed at the fair
“Like an online supermarket, the platform has gathered information from more than 1 million patents owned by universities nationwide,” said Wang Xiaoxu, chairman of the NUST Technology Transfer Center.
The platform evaluates patents, nurtures them to increase their value, and promotes them at business negotiations, Wang said.
for patents filed by universities in 2016
Nearly 300 universities took part in the fair, including 13 from overseas, which displayed nearly 10,000 projects.
Huazhong University of Science and Technology brought to the fair a smart defense system against “black flights” by unmanned aerial vehicles that endanger civil aviation safety at airports.
Professor Ma Jie from the university’s School of Automation said the system, even left unattended, can recognize drones in restricted areas and send jamming signals to force them to stay in the air, land or return.
An oil-water filter developed by Northwest University can treat 40 metric tons of polluted water in an hour. Its systems can be used in petrochemical industrial zones and during sea transportation of crude oil.
“We met many companies interested in the project in just two days,” said the research team leader Gong Yongkuan. “We have reached our target thanks to the fair.”