UNM's School of Engineering gaining clout in intellectual property

October 9, 2014 - By Dan Mayfield, Albuquerque Business First

The University of New Mexico School of Engineering's role as a major force in intellectual property was on full display today at the STC.UNM Technology Social, where researchers, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs mingled and swapped ideas.

The two-day event is designed by STC.UNM to bring all the components of a startup together in an informal way with presentations from those working on each side of the entrepreneurial divide.

Though the event was produced by STC, the University of New Mexico School of Engineering is playing an ever-greater role in patent disclosures and licensure.

Recently, said Joseph L. Cecchi, the dean of the engineering school and a senior advisor to the provost for national laboratory relations, the school has seen 128 new patents disclosed and played a key role in launching 21 new companies. Cecchi was the keynote speaker during lunch.

"All of this was done by people," Cecchi said. "Innovation isn't just the invention of a product, but the complete ecosystem." He said the school is working on hundreds of research products and producing about 235 graduates a year.

"These are very important, these are the STEM workforce," he said.

But, he said, UNM is a research institution on par with other top-tier research universities when it comes to partnerships with federal labs and other universities, and it's working hard to leverage its state funding for research grants.

"We leverage state funds by a factor of two-to-one, and it supports the research enterprise and takes loads off the professors to do more innovative work," he explained.

UNM's School of Engineering has:

3,100 students
185 faculty members
104 tenure-track faculty members
$16 million in state funding
$29.9 million in research funding