Introduction to Commercialization

Ohio State Innovation

The Ohio State University supports creativity, innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship as essential components of an academic research institution and crucial factors needed to accomplish the mission of a land-grant university.

Ohio State’s research and academic programs exhibit a tremendous breadth and depth. Recognized for academic performance, research collaborations, a top-rated medical center, a premier cancer hospital, and a state-of-the-art heart hospital, the university is a leader among institutions of higher education.

Ohio State ranks 3rd nationally among all research universities in industry-sponsored research, according to statistics compiled by the National Science Foundation. The scope and excellence of research programs make Ohio State a leading force of innovation and change — locally, nationally, and globally.


At Ohio State, the assembly of 14 different colleges on one campus offers possibilities for multidisciplinary teams to address complex technological and social issues, achieve novel solutions, and breakthroughs possible only by incorporating multiple perspectives, backgrounds, and sources of expertise. The broad range of programs offered at Ohio State provides an unparalleled opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration in both educational programming and research.


The Bayh-Dole Act was passed with the objective of promoting economic development by allowing small businesses and non-profit organizations, including universities, to own inventions made under federally-funded research programs. The Bayh-Dole Act creates the parameters for university participation in technology transfer and other economic development activities. The government retains certain rights, which include: requiring use of licensed inventions to prevent sequestering, requiring U.S. manufacture for exclusive licenses, and retaining non-exclusive rights for government purposes.

Why Commercialize?

“Only by taking our technology and commercializing it could we actually get it out to the world, where it would have the biggest impact.” – Dr. Peter Embi, College of Medicine


  • Drives development and expansion of local, state, and national economies.
  • Fosters long-term and mutually beneficial relationships among the university, industry, state agencies, and the community.
  • Advances Ohio State’s education and research agenda.
  • Attracts and cultivates progressive faculty, staff, and students.
  • Transforms Ohio State innovations into new products, industries, and global solutions that fuel, feed, educate, and promote a healthy global society.
  • Stimulates the Cycle of Innovation.

Cycle of Innovation

The Cycle of Innovation

The impact of Ohio State inventions in the marketplace drives further research and discovery.


Inventors submit this confidential document through, serving as the official, written notice of a university invention.


The Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) licensing team evaluates the technology’s commercialization potential based on patentability, marketability, and valuation.


If applicable, a patent strategy is coordinated by the licensing teams, in conjunction with the inventor, to protect the invention.


The licensing team identifies and selects potential commercialization partners and shares with them a concise, non-confidential technology summary.


The license is the right to use the technology for commercial purposes. Depending on the technology, the licensee may be an established company, a growing company, or a startup company.


Proceeds from successfully commercialized technologies are distributed back to the inventors and their colleges, promoting further investment in continued research activities.


Introduction to Commercialization

The People

Technologies are created by the hands of inventors, protected and marketed by the TCO, and perfected by business leaders and industry licensees.


The Inventors are the minds exploring cutting edge Innovation. These Ohio State inventors disclose their discoveries to the TCO for assessment, marketing, and licensing.


  • 189 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 12 Members of the National Academy of Engineering
  • 10 Members National Academy of Sciences
  • 7 Institute of Medicine Members
  • 17 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Members
  • 17 American Academy of Microbiology Fellows

“Some of the discoveries have potential to improve people’s lives, and I want that translated out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.” – Dr. Brian McSpadden Gardener, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Ohio State is home to nearly 7,000 faculty spanning 15 colleges, performing cutting edge research in a wide range of fields. Frequently, these researchers develop groundbreaking technologies that have the potential to be taken to market.


The Technology Commercialization Office at Ohio State is dedicated to supporting academic and clinical researchers, inventors, colleges, and centers by advancing their discoveries and innovations to market.


The licensees are the business minds responsible for bringing Ohio State technologies to the world. They can be representatives from  existing small or large companies, or entrepreneurs interested in forming a startup company. They work to realize the full potential of a university technology.


Students have the opportunity to play many roles in commercialization by doing research alongside faculty members, helping assess technologies at the TCO, or starting companies themselves.

Ohio State Innovation Foundation

The Ohio State Innovation Foundation (OSIF) was formed in 2013 to hold, manage, and facilitate commercialization of the university’s intellectual property.

All licenses and patents previously held by Ohio State were transferred to OSIF, and OSIF is the contracting entity for license agreements. OSIF engages with the Technology Commercialization Office to manage the Foundation- providing the people, offices, and supplies necessary to perform OSIF’s mission and facilitate the entrance of Ohio State’s innovations into the global marketplace.

Raising Capital

There are a variety of funding sources available to companies formed to commercialize technology developed at The Ohio State University.

  • Accelerator Awards
  • TVSF Grants
  • Concept Fund
  • Catalyst Fund
  • Ohio TechAngels Fund
  • SBIR Grants
For details, visit the Capital Guide section of the site.