The Bruin carries a summary of the October 28 meeting of the Regents Special Committee on Innovation Transfer and Entrepreneurship. As always, we have preserved the recording of the Committee.
A University of California Board of Regents special committee gathered at UC Merced on Friday to discuss patent policy revisions and agricultural innovation. The Board of Regents is the University’s governing body and meets as a whole bimonthly. The Regents’ Special Committee on Innovation Transfer and Entrepreneurship – established in May 2021 for a two-year duration – aims to oversee and develop innovation and research within the University.
The meeting began with a public comment from Corbin Farias, president of the Associated Students of UC Merced, who called for the Regents to host a full meeting at the university to allow students the opportunity to comment on important campus and University issues. He also said UC Merced’s unique completion of some of the UC’s goals, such as carbon neutrality and minority-serving institution status, shows the campus’s commitment to the UC’s priorities and progress.
Note from yours truly: Merced's chancellor echoed the call for a full Regents meeting. But when I looked at the student newspaper for UC-Merced, I found no coverage of this event. I also found no coverage in the local commercial newspaper for the town of Merced. In short, there didn't seem to be much interest in the Regents meeting. Apparently, UC-Merced's administration did not emphasize the importance of having the Regents Committee meet on that campus - which is a bit surprising.
Committee discussion began with an update on policy revision for patents – intellectual property that protects inventors from others using or selling their invention for a period of time – from Deborah Motton, executive director of research policy analysis and coordination for the UC Office of the President. She said the revision recommendations ask UCOP to improve patent policies by taking actions such as updating the patent tracking system. Those policies cover inventions created by UC employees, specifying patent acknowledgements and income distribution processes. New key goals include increasing campus autonomy, modernizing policies to align with present-day concerns, and clarifying policy language, Motton said, adding that the current patent policy has not been updated since 1997. The special committee has also established a systemwide review group to oversee these changes.
UC Merced mechanical engineering professor Reza Ehsani also gave a presentation on challenges to agricultural engineering and innovation. Recently, there has been no technology development to address major issues such as water shortage, labor cost, food safety, and animal and pest diseases, Ehsani said. The mechanization of crop harvesting would allow for increased efficiency and consistency in agricultural production, he said, adding the UC can spearhead this research and innovation since the University has already led major developments in the field.
Additionally, the committee heard from Chris Medina and Daniel Emilio Sabzehzar, co-founders of Tesserakt Ventures – a venture capital firm that invests in startups and UC technologies – on how the University can work on ecosystem innovation in the Central Valley. Medina and Sabzehzar, UC Merced alumni, suggested the UC Merced Board of Trustees partner with the Special Committee on Innovation and Transfer and Entrepreneurship both to benefit more rural and agricultural campuses such as UC Merced and build on the current goals of the special committee.
The UC should fund programs specifically for startups and innovation acceleration at UC Merced, Medina and Sabzehzar also said. This funding would allow researchers to begin projects they currently do not have the resources to complete...
To see the Regents meeting, go to the link below: