TBJ: Pandemic driving innovation, commercialization at Triangle universities

October 15, 2020
By Seth Gulledge, Triangle Business Journal

Despite Covid-19 causing worry among many in higher education over valuable revenue streams, research universities in the Triangle say their innovation and commercialization activity has never been higher.

Officials tell TBJ that not only has activity continued to thrive throughout the pandemic, the increased demand for innovation around Covid-19 has them busier than ever.

“We have not seen a downturn in the number of companies and the energy that startup founders are putting into the companies,” said Judith Cone, UNC’s vice chancellor of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development.

One of the reasons, Cone said, is the array of patents and existing research the university has, especially with its academic medical center.

She said that “in the first few days of the pandemic,” UNC’s Office of Technology Commercialization was “inundated with requests from other researchers around the world to have access to our knowledge.”