Technology / Universities

Penn renames tech transfer office; EEB Hub’s Laurie Actman joins team

The move is a nod to how tech transfer — how universities commercialize research — is evolving at Penn (and at many other universities). It's no longer only about patents and licensing; it's now also about launching startups and partnering with corporations on sponsored research.

Osage University Partners invests in university startups. This is an aerial rendering of Penn's South Bank campus. (Image courtesy of Penn)

The University of Pennsylvania has relaunched its technology transfer office under a new name, the Penn Center for Innovation.

The move is a nod to how tech transfer — how universities commercialize research — is evolving at Penn (and at many other universities). It’s no longer only about patents and licensing, said director of the Penn Center for Innovation John Swartley has said. It’s now also about launching startups and partnering with corporations for sponsored research.

The rebranding is part of a larger innovation and entrepreneurship push for Penn, which includes the launch of its “South Bank” campus on Grays Ferry Avenue. The South Bank campus, or the Pennovation Center, aims to be the school’s business incubator. Might the new center also help drive an academy culture that is more welcoming of spinout startups, like those at MIT and Harvard?

The new website prominently features a database that lists Penn technologies available for licensing, as well as a directory of entrepreneurship resources across each of Penn’s schools.

A familiar face is joining the PCI team as Chief Operating Officer: Laurie Actman, who was formerly the deputy director of the Navy Yard research initiative Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (previously called the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub). Actman leaves CBEI at a troubled time for the organization. Its funding was cut in half by the federal government this year, but CBEI is also under new leadership, which could help propel the effort forward.

Companies: University of Pennsylvania

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