Auditor General pushes for greater research commercialization at Ontario universities

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In her annual report, Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has recommended that the government develop a strategy to address barriers to the commercialization of research at the province’s universities. The report, released on December 2, 2015, points out that the Ministry of Research and Innovation does not track total investments in research across ministries and agencies, nor does the government share in the revenue generated from the intellectual property developed through its funding.

The report is broadly critical of the processes used by universities and government to track funding for commercialization. However, it does not explain how these processes operate as “barriers” to greater commercialization. While Lysyk recommends an action plan with timelines for implementation and monitoring progress, the report is short on what specific actions could be taken to remove the purported barriers.

OCUFA met with Lysyk on October 29, 2015 and communicated the views of Ontario’s professors and academic librarians on the commercialization issue. OCUFA continues to assert that discovery-based research must be encouraged and allowed to thrive at Ontario universities, and is concerned that these findings are part of a broader shift towards understanding the value of research according only in terms of its market value.

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