IPS Quarterly Update: Spring 2018


UO Launches National Academy of Inventors Chapter

The University of Oregon celebrated the launch of the first Oregon National Academy of Inventors (NAI) chapter during a March 19 ceremony that included the induction of more than 40 UO patent holders. The University of Oregon formally joined NAI last year.  NAI is a member organization with strong representation by AAU institutions that support academic inventions and the societal impact of university research.

“We’re proud to be a part of this organization, which will allow us to recognize and encourage the many UO innovators, both past and present, for their groundbreaking work in research, the patents our inventors have received, and the positive impact their contributions make worldwide,” said Chuck Williams, associate vice president for innovation.

Founded in 2010, the National Academy of Inventors seeks to enhance visibility of inventors within their academic community and encourage the education and mentoring of student inventors.  Nationally, the academy includes more than 4,000 individual inventors who are pioneers in their pursuit of discovery and societal impact from academic research.

In his remarks at the academy induction ceremony, David Conover, UO’s vice president for research and innovation, recalled the work of former UO track and field coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman in inventing and patenting the famous Nike “waffle sole” and other improvements in shoe technology, many of which were tested at UO's Hayward Field by UO student athletes. Conover recounted how Bowerman and Phil Knight changed America’s fitness culture by co-founding Blue Ribbon Sports, which became Nike. Today the global juggernaut enjoys annual revenue of more than $34 billion and remains headquartered in Oregon.

Conover congratulated UO’s inventors on their accomplishments to date and looked ahead to future innovations that could be created at the newly founded Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. The UO will soon be nominating some of its most distinguished inventors to the academy’s fellows program, which recognizes the most prolific, creative, and distinguished academic inventors who embody the spirit of innovation that the academy of inventors seeks to promote, Conover said.

Don Tucker served as the keynote speaker for the induction ceremony. A UO professor in the Department of Psychology who founded the spinout company Electrical Geodesics, Inc. (EGI), Tucker recently sold his company to the Dutch electronics giant Royal Philips for nearly $38 million. The firm, which makes brain wave analysis systems, turns research tools into approved medical devices that are used for diagnosis, surgical monitoring and other uses.

Tucker shared some of his experiences with creating innovative brain research tools that have been adopted widely beyond the university and are contributing to both the study and the treatment of disorders such as epilepsy. With the sale of the company, many of the tools Tucker developed could be used in even more hospitals and surgical rooms, amplifying the impact of his research and inventions through the sales of commercial products. 

During the ceremony, Innovation Partnership Services revealed a new online Inventor Portal, where UO innovators can do everything they need to disclose an innovation, from anywhere (internet connection required). It offers a means for UO researchers to coordinate with an Innovation Partnership Services staff member to describe inventions and creative works that result from their research and scholarship. Such disclosures are the starting point for preparing patent searches and patent applications, as well as for trademark or copyright registrations, Williams said.

Williams pointed to recently launched industry-academic partnerships, including the new Center for Big Learning (CBL), an NSF funded Industry–University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) that will be home to local, national and international industry partners interested in advancing the use of deep learning machine-intelligence algorithms deployed on sets of big data. This research will pioneer both the discovery of new phenomena as well as the creation of new tools for the complex web of commercial operations and supply webs that drive today’s businesses.

“UO discoveries create jobs and improve the lives of the people in our state, country and world,” Williams said. “By working with partners like the National Academy of Inventors we are helping to raise the profile and accelerate the impact cycle for the important innovations that are occurring every day on our campus.”


Innovation Partnership Services
Innovation Partnership Services works with UO innovators, the public, and industry to accelerate the adoption of innovations derived from UO research and education.

Phone: (541) 346-3176          E-mail: techtran@uoregon.edu