In 2005, the Oregon State Legislature passed an innovative bill to create seed funding for university-based discoveries that have commercial applications. It’s a way of using the tremendous intellectual property developed at Oregon’s public universities to benefit all of the state through company creation and job opportunities.

The University Venture Development Fund (UVDF) utilizes a tax incentive for donors who want to contribute to the fund and support this activity. To date, universities have raised some $7 million, resulting in the formation of dozens of new companies that have created approximately 270 high wage jobs. Over the last five years, jobs created by UVDF support have generated a total of $4.35 million in income tax revenues.

Unfortunately, the UVDF tax credit expired at the end of 2015 and will need to be renewed during the 2016 session in order to enable contributions in future years. There are so many great innovations being developed at OSU, and it’s a shame that funding is limited to develop these into opportunities for homegrown companies. We have people in Oregon who want to contribute financial resources to help these innovations take off. The UVDF is the launch pad they need to do that, and it needs to be reauthorized.