CREATING A CULTURE OF INVENTION: FOSTERING STUDENT INNOVATION AND INVENTION THROUGH PROACTIVE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY AND PRACTICE
Universities have long been drivers of technological innovation and the seedbeds where new ideas and early scientific discoveries are reduced to practice. Technology commercialization and entrepreneurship play an important role in the research and economic development mission of many institutions and have come to the forefront given economic trends and increasing demands for impact. This has led to an increased focus on engaging entire campuses in innovation activities, with more graduate and undergraduate students involved in the generation of intellectual property (IP) through research, curricular, and experiential activities. While policy governing faculty ownership and rights to inventions is relatively well established at most institutions, how best to align student interests with institutional policies and practices remains a work in progress at many others. The purpose of this article is to raise awareness of the needs of student inventors and how these needs align with the economic, scientific, and educational outcomes of the institution and its constituents. It is also to suggest that the emergence of a culture of invention and innovation requires more than just policy. Combining educational resources, practical support, and a systematic recognition and celebration of the work of emerging inventors can complement effective IP policy and encourage the participation of students in the institutional innovation ecosystem.
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