The mission of the Western Michigan University Research Foundation (WMURF) is to advance WMU faculty, staff and student research discoveries, technology developments and creations towards new products, services, and/or businesses that provide benefits back to WMU, its inventors and society.
The WMU Board of Trustees approved establishment of the Research Foundation in December of 2003, and incorporation occurred in January of 2004. WMURF’s Board of Directors has been active, over the last 11 years, reviewing strategies and new directions for the continued growth and success of the Research Foundation. WMU’s Technology and Innovation (TIA) office
, the technology transfer function at WMU, was established in 2005, the year following WMURF’s incorporation, and it works closely with the Research Foundation.
New discoveries, technologies and creations at WMU are evaluated for their novelty and commercial potential by TIA. Commercialization benefits society by its associated economic development and by providing solutions to societal problems. An innovation that is identified as being novel and commercially advantageous is transferred to WMURF, where the intellectual property (IP) is protected with a patent or a copyright registration, and the IP rights are then marketed and licensed to external companies or WMU-affiliated start-ups. Royalties and fees from licensing agreements provide funding for research at the University and incentives for researchers. During its existence, WMURF has obtained numerous copyrights and patents, and has licensed the IP rights to global, national and regional industries, and to local start-up companies providing economic support and stimulation, where WMU lives.
As part of WMURF, the Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center (BRCC)
was established in 2003 to provide seed funding and business development direction to early stage life science companies located throughout Michigan. The BRCC received its funding from the State of Michigan & WMU and typically makes investments between $100,000 - $250,000 to support the early development of new and innovative products and services. These investments are generally made in the form of convertible loans, equity, or a revenue-sharing agreement.