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The Daily Tar Heel

N.C. Schools Win High Technology Marks

N.C. State shared top honors with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Georgia in a series of rankings released by the Southern Growth Policies Board's Southern Technology Council.

The study, which evaluated 72 institutions in 24 states and Puerto Rico, was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and used 1998 licensing survey information from the Association of University Technology Managers.

UNC-Chapel Hill was one of five UNC-system schools -- and one of eight N.C. schools overall -- that participated in the study.

Five of the eight schools -- UNC-CH, N.C. State, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina University and Duke University - ranked among the 13 most-rounded.

But Mark Crowell, UNC-CH director of the Office of Technology and Development, said UNC-CH is not satisfied with its ranking and will strive to better itself.

The rankings rated institutional performance in eight categories, including licensing, U.S. patents applied for and rewarded and startup companies that are formed with institutional research funds.

N.C. State was ranked in five of the eight categories and ranked first in two categories -- number of licenses and options in effect, and license income from in-state licenses.

David Winwood, N.C. State assistant vice chancellor, said the recent rankings are just another indication of the school's outstanding work in the technology field.

"(The rankings are) a nice little bonus," he said. "We've done very well in the last five or six years in these kinds of rankings."

Winwood said the broad scope of the rankings was important to show N.C. State's effectiveness in the field of technology transfer.

"What I like is how they combined multiple analyses," he said. "The big picture is more important than any individual category."

Mark Tosczak, director of communications for Southern Growth Policies Board, said the depth of the study was necessary to get a grasp on institutional efficiency.

"A research program is a complex thing, and you can't just give a number, randomly, (to rank it)," he said.

Tosczak said the board plans to study several schools more closely to see how they attain and maintain their success -- UNC-CH, N.C. State, ECU and Duke are on the preliminary list.

Crowell said OTD is working on several projects, including the installation of a project management database, that will make OTD more efficient and broaden the range of services it offers to the community.

But though he said he is not content with UNC-CH's ranking, Crowell said he sees the technology transfer rankings as a comparative benchmark more than anything.

"I think you need to take these numbers with a grain of salt," he said. "They're a snapshot -- they're inconclusive."

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