Thursday, February 14, 2013

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$12.5 million to UT System commercialization fund

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved an additional $12.5 million for the UT Horizon Fund – a reserve used to invest in ideas and scientific breakthroughs developed at UT institutions.

Originally approved in 2011 as part of UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa's action plan for advancing excellence across UT System institutions, this strategic venture fund keeps both the financial investment and returns in Texas and encourages greater commitment by UT institutions to help facilitate collaborations among the System's nine academic universities and six health institutions.

The Board approved the additional funding at a Regents meeting today.

“This new allocation of funding enables UT System to continue our mission to commercialize technologies and improve sustainability through a positive return on investment,” said Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Barry Burgdorf.

Executive Director of Technology Commercialization Bryan Allinson said the Horizon Fund is more than just a fund it is also a center of excellence in ventures for all 15 UT institutions.

“We help support a base of over 150 active startup companies,” Allinson said. “And 20 new startups formed in the last year as they work to translate UT research findings to practical societal use.”

Burgdorf and Allinson presented the Board a report on a backtesting model for the fund that attempts to answer the question: What if the fund had been established 10 years earlier? Applying strategy and analytical methods to analyze historical and present data, this report states that the System would have realized a significant return on investment: $226 million in financial gains and a 54 percent internal rate of return.

The Office of Commercialization, situated side by side with the Office of Finance, facilitates access to capital and advisory support, among other scalable, shared services provided by the Business Affairs division. The majority of any returns from the fund will be reinvested and used for future growth. A portion of the gains also will be invested into programs designed to support further commercialization within System institutions, foster multi-institutional collaborations and reward performing institutions that have contributed to the success of the fund.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state’s health care professionals annually. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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