Agriscience Innovation at Land-Grant Universities, Measured by Patents and Plant Variety Protection Certificates as Proxies
One of the major metrics of innovation in agriscience is intellectual property. Land-grant university innovation is documented as intellectual property in two main ways: patents and Plant Variety Protection certificates. To evaluate the innovation generated by NIFA Capacity Funds, TEConomy Partners, LLC, examined the patents and PVP certificates received by LGUs during a 7-year period (2010–2016). The results indicate substantial innovation occurring in LGUs. LGUs generated 4% of total patenting in agriculture and related fields in the study period. When broadened to include patents that cite prior LGU work, LGUs influence up to one in six patents in agbiosciences in the United States. Even higher impacts of LGUs are found in PVP certificates. Between 2010 and 2016, an average of 14% of PVPs were awarded to LGUs. This analysis further demonstrates that LGUs patent in cutting-edge applications of biotechnology and associated life and physical sciences. In PVPs, LGUs generated intellectual property in many crops that were not experiencing IP generation from other sources. Overall, we conclude that university-based research, especially research at LGUs, plays a substantial role in the US agriscience innovation ecosystem.