How Do Universities Measure the Impact of Their Research?
University startups have existed for a while, but it has become easier in recent years for students and researchers to launch a company. Startup grants, entrepreneurship programs, a drastic decrease in the cost of IT technology, and rapid prototyping beckon researchers to take the plunge into startup life. Students and researchers are beginning to take advantage of lean methods. I applaud this trend and think it paves the way for a promising future. At present, however, the startup initiatives of most universities still amount to little measurable impact in the market. How much relevance does university research have outside academia? How many university startups launch products and achieve profitability in the real world? Universities rarely collect impact-driven metrics, and it is still the revenue from patent licensing that validates a technology as a commercial success.