EUGENE, Ore. -- (Jan. 6, 2009) -- "Well ahead of schedule" -- that's how a former president of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education greeted the first payment -- $32,000 from the University of Oregon -- toward reimbursing the state for tax credits awarded to donors supporting the University Venture Development Fund.
"It's incredibly rewarding to see this innovative piece of legislation pay out for the University of Oregon, the state of Oregon, and the general fund so early in its inception," said Kirby Dyess, a principal in Austin Capital Management of Beaverton and State Board of Higher Education president in 2007-08.
The UO will transfer $32,000 to the Oregon Treasury, a 20-percent payback on $160,000 received last week from Dune Sciences and MitoSciences. The Eugene-based companies are among UO spinoffs receiving $50,000 each during the initial wave of venture development grants announced in December.
Dyess made gifts to the venture development funds at each of the participating universities as soon as the Oregon Legislature authorized the tax-incentive program in 2007. "I hope to see many other potential donors step up to invest in the future of the state and its economy in a similar manner," she said.
Campuses may receive up to $14 million in gifts eligible for the 60 percent income tax credit. The UO's share is $3.27 million. Gifts help universities move promising discoveries from lab to market while educating the next generation of Oregon's entrepreneurial business leaders.
"The University Venture Development Fund is creating a spiral going in the right direction," Dyess said. "In today's world, you don't see too many of those."
The UO's payback for the tax credits coincides with news that its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program and technology transfer activities have garnered three "Top 25" rankings among America's leading research universities, based on the latest rankings from the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine and the most recent data published by the Association of University Technology Managers.
The "Top 25" rankings include the UO's graduate entrepreneurship program, the UO's "startup formation rate" per unit of research expenditure and the UO's "innovation yield" of license income per unit of research expenditure. The UO set a state record for licensing revenue in 2007-08 with $6.8 million received.