University of Florida ranked most efficient research institution

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The University of Florida was ranked the most efficient large university in the United States for research impact, according to a report released last week by the George W. Bush Institute.

Conducted by the Opus Faveo Innovation Development consulting firm, the report ranked nearly 200 universities on “innovation impact,” a measurement of the number patents and companies developed through university research. The University of Florida ranked sixth overall — behind the University of California system, which ranked first, the University of Texas system, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Washington and the University of Michigan.

But UF, which has a research budget $565 million, produced the most patents and companies per research dollar. (The University of California system, which was the most productive university in the study, has a nearly $5 billion research budget.)

“The report highlights — and rightly so — that UF operates one of the most respected technology transfer offices in the country with the best tech transfer team in the world,” David Norton, UF’s vice president for research, said in a press release. “None of this happens without a remarkable research enterprise that is aggressively addressing the significant opportunities and challenges that face our nation and planet.”

Between 2013 and 2017, the University of Florida generated an average of 123 patents and 15 startups per year. It also generated an average of $36 million per year in license income — dollars that come from equity in startups or companies and licensing fees for any products or services released into the world.

The report found that U.S. universities spend approximately $75 billion per year on research, comprising 13% of total spending on research and development in the United States.

“Universities play an important role in fostering innovation in communities across the country, and that innovation drives economic growth and rising levels of prosperity,” J.H. Cullum Clark, a director at the Bush Institute-Southern Methodist University Economic Growth Initiative, said in a press release. “These findings are especially critical as universities re-evaluate their priorities in a difficult environment, and as policymakers consider the role that higher education and research can play in a post-COVID economic recovery.”

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