Ontario to tap Jim Balsillie to lead expert panel on commercializing university research


The panel, announced in Thursday’s Ontario budget, will also include Shiri Breznitz, a University of Toronto professor; Dan Herman, former head of strategy for Innovation Canada; Natalie Raffoul, an Ottawa-based patent lawyer; and Myra Tawfik, an IP law expert. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Universities spend billions of dollars each year on R&D, but they see relatively little return on that work. U of T, for example, brought in $2 million in royalties in 2015, and was granted $1.1 billion for research that year. Balsillie has been a major critic of Canada’s intellectual property track record, arguing we don’t generate enough IP and that Canada’s R&D is too often commercialized in the U.S. Creating a pipeline from basic research to commercialization could mitigate that. But, as John Lorinc noted in an article for The Logic, many critics argue that universities should focus on basic and creative research rather than commercializing it.