Thursday, July 16, 2009
Today's New York Times has an interesting story about nanotechnology. As someone who gets hopelessly confused by basic science concepts, I have trouble understanding the nanotechnology part of the article, but it sounds like some folks have figured out some really cool applications of nanotechnology, including one that helps clean or desalinize water. For purposes of this blog, the equally interesting part of the article is the discussion of how universities and for-profit companies are working together. The article describes universities licensing research, setting up incubators for new businesses, allowing small companies to use lab equipment for a user fee, and even investing in start-up businesses. The collaboration benefits the universities by increasing dissemination of research and making new technology available for public benefit, part of the public mission of universities. In addition, the universities find that the collaborations attract research and development grants from industry and may also become a source of income, of particular interest in these difficult economic times.