Updated March 26 at 12:25pm

URI research funding nears $100M annually


SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Research grants awarded to enterprising members of the University of Rhode Island averaged $100 million per year over the last three years, generating 22 U.S. patents and two trademarks in 2011-2012, according to the university.

In 2011, research funding also helped financed patent development for three new Rhode Island companies, including Burbank Industries LLC., CREmedical Corp. and VeloBit Inc., whose founders were recognized at the University of Rhode Island’s inaugural Intellectual Property Awards Ceremony on Jan. 30.

According to URI’s Research and Economic Development Division, 84 percent of those grants were funneled from federal resources last year, representing “new money to the State that we wouldn’t have otherwise.” Research funding to the university also increased 40 percent in the last six years, resulting in “a boost to commercialization and economic development efforts” through R&D partnerships with private enterprise, federal agencies and other academic institutions.

“You will be amazed at the number and the diversity of innovations that the University produced in 2011 and 2012,” said Patent Agent James Petell in prepared remarks, who also serves as URI’s associate vice president for intellectual property management and commercialization.

One research venture resulted in a particularly lucrative enterprise in VeloBit, a computer software firm founded by Engineering Professor Qing Yang. In its second year of operation, the company’s success has generated more than $5 million in venture capital and allowed it to hire an additional 15 people.


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