University of Georgia
January 2014
Economic Development
Making an Impact

Poultry vaccines developed by UGA help protect one of Georgia's most important economic industries.

The UGA Technology Commercialization Office helps to move research innovations from the lab to the marketplace.

Over the last 35 years, more than 500 new products based on UGA discoveries have entered the marketplace. In 2013 alone, more than 40 new products ranging from peanuts and hydrangeas to biotech tools and educational software became available. And many of these inventions-particularly in the agricultural arena-have provided a hefty economic benefit to the state of Georgia.

Take peanuts. UGA-improved peanut cultivars accounted for roughly 95 percent of the state’s estimated $890 million peanut crop in 2012, thus supporting Georgia’s No. 1 position in U.S. peanut production.

Or blueberries. Georgia is now also a major blueberry producer with a crop value of $255 million in 2011. UGA-improved varieties accounted for 55 percent of the blueberries harvested in the state that same year.

Or poultry. Poultry vaccines, developed by UGA researchers in collaboration with company partners, protect one of the state’s most important industries. Georgia’s poultry industry, which has an estimated economic impact of $28 billion, contributes more than 100,000 jobs to the Georgia economy.

These major impacts on Georgia’s agricultural sector are reflected in UGA’s top 10 technologies for 2013, which in addition to peanut cultivars includes a turfgrass (TifSport), wheat and soybean cultivars, and a hydrangea cultivar called Endless Summer.

But the top 10 product list isn’t limited to agricultural products. It also includes pharmaceuticals, research tools, diagnostics and other vaccines, as well as ornamental plants.

“As a comprehensive land grant university, UGA’s diverse research program is reflected in the broad range of technologies licensed to industry partners,” said Derek Eberhart, director of UGA’s Technology Commercialization Office in the Office of the Vice President for Research. And he anticipates even more breadth in UGA’s intellectual property portfolio with the rapid expansion of UGA’s new College of Engineering.

UGA first began licensing university inventions to industry for development into commercial products, and consequently for public benefit, in the late 1970s. The licensing revenue is distributed to the inventor, the inventor’s research program and department, with well more than half invested back into the UGA research program to fund promising new research. UGA’s licensing program has grown dramatically over the past 35 years, from less than $6 million in licensing revenue during the first 15 years to $137 million in the most recent 10-year period.

“As a comprehensive land grant university, UGA’s diverse research program is reflected in the broad range of technologies licensed to industry partners.”

Derek Eberhart

UGA’s Technology Commercialization Office is consistently ranked among the top technology transfer offices in the country. In 2012, it ranked among the top five U.S. universities for license/option agreements executed for the sixth consecutive year and among the top 15 public universities in licensing revenue.

“We are proud of this commercialization record but certainly not content. We’ll keep assessing, improving and reinventing the ways in which we move UGA discoveries into the market. This is one of the important ways in which we contribute to economic development in the state.”

Successful products based on UGA discoveries include: