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Milken Institute ranks UNM among top universities for technology transfer

May 25, 2017 - By Denise Bissell

The Milken Institute has ranked The University of New Mexico among the best in the nation for technology transfer.

The Institute’s Center for Jobs and Human Capital issued its April 2017 report, “Concept to Commercialization: The Best Universities for Technology Transfer,” ranking 225 U.S. universities and research institutions for technology transfer and commercialization success and best practices. UNM is ranked 28th—up from a 93rd position in the Institute’s original report published in 2006.

The 2017 report, authored by Ross DeVol, Joe Lee, and Minoli Ratnatunga, analyzed four indicators of technology transfer success using four-year (2012-2015) averages in developing its index: number of issued patents, number of license agreements, amount of licensing income, and number of spun-out start-up companies. The indicators were normalized based on a four-year average of research dollars received by each university. The report’s metrics data is based on data collected by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) for its annual licensing activity surveys.

Lisa Kuuttila, CEO of STC.UNM, the University’s technology-transfer and economic development organization, stated:

“This report is a great affirmation of our work in bringing the impressive technologies created by our UNM inventors to the marketplace and contributing to regional economic growth and innovation. The index is an evaluation of research quality, the marketability of the technology created from that research, how well technology-transfer offices perform in commercializing these new inventions, and the economic impact this activity has on local and regional economies. I believe the University of New Mexico can be very proud of its standing among other top technology-transfer performers.”

Based on the findings, the Milken Institute recommends the following:

  • Maintain basic scientific research funding because basic research provides long-term economic benefits by creating new industries.
  • Increase research funding by creating a new federal commercialization fund to incentivize technology transfer.
  • Create a federal matching grant program with states to adequately fund technology-transfer programs that would increase staff and resources.
  • Encourage states to create policies that incentivize its public universities to adopt best practices for greater efficiency in technology transfer and commercialization.

The report concludes by noting:

“Research universities are one of the strongest assets America can use to compete in the age of innovation. Federal and other sources of public funding for university research should be viewed as an investment with a high rate of return. Research funding should be a top priority for enhancing American economic growth.”


As the technology-transfer and economic-development organization for the University of New Mexico (UNM), STC.UNM (STC) protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring them to the marketplace. We connect the business community (companies, entrepreneurs and investors) to these UNM technologies for licensing opportunities and the creation of start-up companies. STC’s vision is to play a vital role in New Mexico’s economic development and to be a leader in technology commercialization. Under the leadership of CEO Lisa Kuuttila, STC is substantially growing its program using the Rainforest model to develop an innovation economy in New Mexico. In 2013, UNM tasked STC with implementing its economic-development initiatives. To learn more about us, visit our website at

About The Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs, and improve health. We do this through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented meetings, and meaningful policy initiatives.

About The Center for Jobs and Human Capital

The Center for Jobs and Human Capital promotes prosperity and sustainable economic growth around the world by increasing the understanding of the dynamics that drive job creation and promote industry expansion. Our research develops innovative, implementable economic and policy solutions that provide stakeholders with the tools to create jobs and improve access to capital.