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UMass Vaults to Top 30 in Patents Awarded in 2015

BOSTON — In the latest display of its R&D firepower, the University of Massachusetts vaulted to 30th globally in the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Patents in 2015.

Winning a record 62 U.S. patents arising out of faculty inventions, UMass placed third in Massachusetts and New England and was tied for 24th place among American universities.

“Our faculty continues to shine with cutting-edge research and innovation that places us in the top tier of universities in the world. They lead us to new frontiers of human understanding, and their work opens the door to a more prosperous economic future,” President Marty Meehan said. “We’re proud of this accomplishment because today’s patent is tomorrow’s job-creating startup technology company.”

The patents awarded are based on UMass research in areas as diverse as gene silencing, high-technology textiles, polymers, and nanotechnology, according to Abigail Barrow, interim executive director of the university’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures.

The 62 patents represent a 55% increase over the 40 awarded to UMass in the previous year and is the highest number issued in a single calendar year since UMass began its technology-transfer program in 1995, she added. UMass is also a national leader among universities in licensing income earned on its patented inventions.

“Congratulations to the University of Massachusetts for making the Top 100 again this year and for an impressive increase,” said Paul Sanberg, president of the National Academy of Inventors, which produces the rankings along with the Intellectual Property Owners Assoc.

One of the UMass patents relates to Geckskin, a super-strong adhesive discovered at UMass Amherst that can be used multiple times without losing effectiveness.

This year’s top 10 ranked universities worldwide were: the University of California system, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Texas, Tsinghua University (China), California Institute of Technology, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and University of Michigan. The rankings are calculated using data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

UMass is on pace to match or modestly exceed its record 62 patents in the next report, Barrow said. “Our impressive patent numbers reflect the rapid growth and influence of UMass’ research enterprise and the discovery going on at all of our campuses.”

UMass shares the number-30 spot with the University of Utah Research Foundation and the Research Foundation of the State University of New York.

The National Academy of Inventors is a nonprofit organization of U.S. and international universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions with more than 3,000 members. The Intellectual Property Owners Assoc. is a trade association of owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. This is the fourth year they have collaborated to issue the rankings report.

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