Promote Innovation and Entrepreneurship

KU research impacts society in ways that go way beyond contributing to the more traditional idea of academic knowledge. Notably, KU research translates into inventions, products and business startups that provide health, economic, education and other benefits for society.


Business startups formed by KU faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students represent the translation of KU research from the bench or desktop to the marketplace. Used as a metric, KU startups indicate the presence of a culture and resources that encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship. These startups emanate from an idea or technology often developed through research funded by federal sources, and they provide health, economic, education and other benefits for society. They also aid in recruitment and retention of students and faculty. Jobs created by KU startups is an economic development metric that speaks to the success of the startups in their growth continuum and the health of the innovation and entrepreneurship culture at the university. Job growth by startups provide salaries for individuals within the community that have direct benefit to society and our economy. Job creation is about income generation for individuals and communities (through the tax base), and startups are one of the main drivers for job creation. Startup job creation is also an opportunity for KU students to remain in the region and be employed.

Private Capital Investment

Private capital investment is associated with funds that come into the state to support KU business startups as they further develop their product and/or begin to commercialize it into the marketplace. This capital infusion may occur through non-dilutive federal programs such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. SBIR and STTR can further support research funding within KU through a subaward agreement, and this funding is often the precursor to funding that continues to grow and develop the startup technology and would arise from angel investors and/or venture capitalists. This infusion of funds promotes the direct growth of the startup, leading to job creation and internship opportunities that benefit KU students.

Small Business Clients Served

Small Business Development Centers and many entrepreneurial education-focused federal programs provide the infrastructure to support small business clients both inside and outside of KU. This support can be in the form of mentorship, education and/or consultation and helps shepherd the startup further down the commercialization path. Used as a metric, KU’s service to small business clients indicates its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Industry Sponsored Research Expenditures

Industry-sponsored research is a direct measure of KU’s partnership with companies as they pursue product development, product improvement and/or fundamental research in areas of mutual interest. Industry-sponsored research originates from the alignment of a company's interests and needs with that of a specific KU faculty member and/or research team. KU’s engagement in this research often has a direct impact on the company’s financial bottom line while also providing a vehicle for faculty to pursue research opportunities outside of the federal funding stream.

Patents & Licenses

Patents are a direct outcome of the novelty and uniqueness of research pursued by KU faculty and students as they develop new innovations. Patented technology is a valuable university asset that can spawn further developmental research or provide the pathway to a license agreement with either a startup and/or an established company. License agreements often result in a revenue stream back to KU to further support the university’s research and innovation enterprise.