WSU is advancing Washington industries …
WSU teams with aviation to develop sustainable aviation biofuels …
WSU partners to develop bioproducts that reduce dependence on petroleum imports …
WSU works with state commodity commissions to conduct needed agricultural research …
WSU developed the technology used for wood-plastic composites used for buildings …
WSU researchers work to improve dairy productivity and reduce disease …
WSU research has made Washington one of the world’s most productive wheat-growing regions …

In the News

WSU is adding economic value and supporting efficiencies in operations

Washington State University (WSU) is continuing to demonstrate its value to citizens and the community it serves. Below are two stories that highlight how research universities help economic growth and how the legislature is working with higher education to bring efficiencies and savings to day-to-day operations. The first story describes the value-added benefits of sponsored, results-oriented research and the economic development possibilities created by the work of WSU researchers.  The second story highlights legislative bills that will bring efficiencies in the operation of colleges and universities thereby bringing savings to the cost of doing business.  In turn, these savings benefit both the institutions and taxpayers of the state.

Fresh Approach Aimed at Enhancing Innovation, Commercialization

Office of the President, Washington State University

Washington State University scientists brought in nearly $1 billion in sponsored research awards between 2008 and 2012. Our ability to conduct important, results-oriented research has been validated externally time and time again.

However, the question now is, how are we fostering the translation of what we create into real-world applications that benefit our state, nation, and world.

The numbers tell an encouraging story about the economic development possibilities created by the work of WSU researchers. Between 2008 and 2012, new knowledge, science, and technology by our scientists led to 286 invention disclosures, 287 patents filed, and 57 patents issued. WSU research led to the launching of 10 different startup companies, including M3 Biotechnology, focused on curing Parkinson’s Disease and cancer; Phytelligence, seeking to improve crops in our state; and Food Chain Safety, which is using cutting-edge microwave sterilization technology to positively impact the food industry. These are new companies creating new jobs in our state.

As impressive as those numbers are, we can – and must – do more to prime the pump for economic prosperity. The path from innovation to market can be long, bumpy and circuitous; smoothing the road to commercialization is critical.

A key first step in that process is creating the right organizational structure at the institution. To be frank, our current Office of Intellectual Property Administration sounds and operates like a bureaucratic relic of the past, regulatory rather than innovative.

That is why I have asked Anson Fatland, associate vice president for economic development, to oversee creation of the new WSU Office of Commercialization. The office title is a much more direct description of what we want to do – bring to the commercial market the good work of our researchers for the benefit of our stakeholders and beyond. It also gives increased institutional emphasis on innovation, discovery, commercialization, industry partnerships, and economic development.

The long-term vision for this new organization, which we are working to launch by July 1 this year, is to help create an institution-wide culture of coordination and cooperation, a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and development. We will continue to add tools, resources, and programs to support these activities; the new Office of Commercialization is an important and exciting first step.

House approves first of two efficiency bills

Newbeat, WSU Government Relations

The state House of Representatives on Monday approved the first of two bills aimed at driving new efficiencies within the higher education sector.

House Bill 1736 was approved 98-0 and heads for the Senate where a companion bill is already moving. The bill would help reduce time spent on paperwork within human resource departments by authorizing the use of electronic signatures, would study various reporting requirements placed on colleges and universities and would allow the state to enter into a multi-state compact for the purpose of simplifying the delivery of online education to out of state students.

The other efficiency measure of interest to the higher education sector is sitting in the House Rules Committee awaiting a pull to the floor calendar. House Bill 1769 would provide colleges and universities more flexibilities in managing their capital budgets by allowing them to use minor works appropriations for small preservation, maintenance and enhancement projects under $5 million. The current threshold is $2 million. The bill also would remove the requirement for pre-design activities for projects under $10 million, allowing institutions to complete such projects in fewer budget cycles and avoid some inflationary costs. The current threshold is $5 million.

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