MURRAY — Leadership for the Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3) visited with Murray State University administrators and faculty Wednesday to discuss ways the organization can assist the university to advance ideas and research products into the market. 

C3 is a science and technology nonprofit that operates as a flagship for supporting and accelerating invention and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth. The organization serves as a vehicle for various partnerships with public Kentucky universities and colleges to help transition ideas and intellectual property into products and businesses through investment. 

The University of Kentucky and University of Louisville have partnered with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to lead the development of the statewide collaboration. Other participating universities include: Eastern Kentucky University, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University. 

April Turley, director of the commercialization core for C3 talked with faculty members about the organization. Also speaking with those in attendance were Ian McClure, executive director for the Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Kentucky, and Alan Morris, executive director for the Tech Transfer Office at the University of Louisville.

“Technology transfer is effectively the process of harvesting and identifying intellectual properties that result from research and other work at universities,” McClure said. “Over the last 10 years as offices like mine have developed, we have seen a 35% increase in this type of activity.” 

McClure said that the rate of developing startup companies has also doubled in that time frame. 

“Universities are producing about 1,200 startup companies across the country, per year,” he said. “The largest incubator in most states is the university system.” 

Turley spoke more about what C3 does to help universities, faculty and students help market their ideas. 

“C3 is a partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet of Economic Development, The University of Kentucky, The University of Louisville and all of the state institutions,” Turley said. “We are a resource for MSU that you have not had previously to handle technology commercialization.” 

Turley said that C3 helps universities through various arms of the organization. The commercialization core supports efforts of partnering Kentucky universities to protect and commercialize ideas of faculty, staff and students. The organization also provides a legal branch that aims to advance the network of quality, affordable legal services available to startup companies within the state. 

C3 also has a competitive entry accelerator program with an initial focus on agriculture technology. The program allocates risk capital to participants in exchange for an equity stake in the venture. Turley also mentioned a SBIR/STTR consulting and matching funds program, offered to companies who have received funding previously through the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and/or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

“We are hoping to add an ability to advance ideas, appropriately protect ideas, put industry partnering opportunities together and raise those up around ideas,” McClure said. “We also want to involve students as applicable to make sure we are creating those benefits for those students.” 

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