Research Magazine 2006

Measuring research growth

By any barometer, research activity is flourishing at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Obvious measures of faculty research include the number of publications in peer-reviewed academic journals, authored book chapters, and edited or authored books. However, because of the time that may be required to publish academic research, such information fails to provide a clear snapshot of current activities. For a more accurate metric of present research, we generally look to research expenditures (the number of dollars actually spent on research) and measures of intellectual property generated by active researchers.

The number of dollars spent each year to support faculty research is the most direct way to document ongoing research activities. Research expenditures—projects funded by federal, state and local governmental agencies, contracts from other universities/commercial entities, as well as internally funded programs—provide an excellent picture of UT Arlington’s current research. Since the 2001 fiscal year, expenditures for research have grown nearly 69 percent, with the largest increases occurring since 2005.

You can also measure research productivity without using dollars as a benchmark. Basic and applied research that leads to the development of inventions (disclosures and applications for patents) and other types of intellectual property are valid criteria. So are university licenses that permit commercial entities to use intellectual property developed at UT Arlington.

As research grants and contracts have increased, so have the number of invention disclosures, patent applications and licensing agreements. Between fiscal years 2002 and 2007, disclosures grew from 12 to 50 per year, patent applications filed jumped from four to 34 per year, and license agreements to commercialize UT Arlington technologies increased from one to six.

For proof, look no further than the cover story of this magazine. Electrical engineering Associate Professor J.C. Chiao has four patents pending, including one for his wireless sensors to detect acid reflux disease. Two of the others are also sensor related: one to better manage pain and one to help fight sudden infant death syndrome.

UT Arlington has licensed five of chemistry Professor Richard Timmons’ patents to Emergent Technologies, an Austin-based venture capital firm. The patents involve the chemical tailoring of surfaces with emphasis on medical applications. Emergent Technologies used the licenses to form AeonClad Coatings, with Dr. Timmons as chief scientist.

Examples like these not only illustrate research growth but demonstrate the University’s commitment to improving quality of life. The more we emphasize research, the more we discover. The more we discover, the more lives we impact. 

UT Arlington research continues to lead the way.

Ron Elsenbaumer

Ron Elsenbaumer, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

 Kelsey R. Downum

Kelsey R. Downum, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President for Research