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Programs and Events 2011

Swedish and American Universities Share Thoughts on Turning Research into Reality

man giving a presentation to a small group of people.

Public Affairs Counselor Chris Dunnett talking during a panel discussion at Stockholm's Royal Technical College.

On Friday, November 18 The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) hosted a panel discussion on commercializing university innovations. The session was organized under the auspices of the Swedish American Green Alliance (SAGA) in a former nuclear reactor hall 22 meters (approximately 70 feet) below ground. Swedish and American universities in the vanguard of commercialization exchanged best practices but also discussed hurdles and how to overcome these. The panel consisted of Dr. Eric Giertz and Ms. Lisa Ericsson (KTH) and Dr. Charles Hofer (Kennesaw State University) and Dr. Steven Nichols (University of Texas at Austin).

Sweden and the United States are approaching the issue of commercialization somewhat differently, particularly in regards to patent ownership. As a result of national legislation, in Sweden, the researcher often owns her or his patents (so-called “professor privilege”) while in the United States the intellectual property rights are assigned not to the scientist but to the university. Regardless of this fact the panelists agreed that the common denominators outweigh the differences.

- I am very pleased with the discussion and I was surprised how small the difference is between Swedish and U.S. universities in the commercialization of university technologies, says Professor Steven P. Nichols of University of Texas at Austin (UT).

Swedish and American universities also convened on Thursday, November 17 at the Residence of the U.S. Embassy. The following universities participated in the reception that was hosted by the US Chargé d’Affaires: Luleå University of Technology, Uppsala University, Chalmers University of Technology, the Royal Institute of Technology, Linköping University, Kennesaw State University, University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, University of Washington of St Louis and University of Texas in Austin.