August 24, 2005--Universities are not applying their research on industrial innovations to their full potential, claims a study from the Kauffman Foundation.

In response to these findings, the Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation is hosting a three-day conference September 28-30 for entrepreneurship and innovation policy researchers, as well as technology companies, to discuss possible recommendations to universities and the federal government regarding the improvement of university-industry relationships.

According to Lesa Mitchell, vice-president of advancing innovation at the Kauffman Foundation, one of the goals of the conference is to have researchers and practitioners, such as representatives from the National Science Foundation and economic development groups, give their input to help direct future Kauffman research on the topic. The long-term goal of the project is to develop new initiatives that help smaller universities with innovative research develop relationships within the corporate world.

"Over the last decade, the difficulty of funding university research has been that the complexity of contracts, patent policy, and the valuation of the outcome innovations have escalated," Mitchell said, who added that many American companies have begun to look internationally for less expensive innovative research.

Mitchell also attributed much of the disadvantage surrounding smaller, overlooked universities to geography, citing Boston and California, the homes of larger, famous schools such as MIT and Stanford, as areas of extremely high technological innovation in general. However, she noted the possibilities that the current geographic divide could offer smaller technological firms, in terms of overlooked innovative research. "There are lots of opportunities here for small and medium-sized businesses in smaller towns to apply these innovations in new ways," she said.