Grant Funds MU Student Inventors
COLUMBIA - MU announced Wednesday its students will now have the opportunity to receive complete ownership rights to anything they invent on campus. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City gave the UM system a $100,000 grant to further student entrepreneuring. The Kauffman Foundation awards universities to promote the commercialization of tecnologies developed at the university level.
"We want to be the growth engine for commercialization for the whole country, not just the state," said Mike Nichols, UM System Vice-President for research and development.
Tony Brown, a graduate student at MU, created an iPhone application in February 2009 while he was an undergraduate journalism student. He, along with three other friends, entered "Nearbuy" in the Reynolds Journalism Institute's iPhone student competition and won.
Brown said he submitted the real estate application to Apple's App Store, and serveral companies wanted to commercialize it. Last year, the university still enforced its right to own the intellectual properties of UM employees.
"This was something that once we put in stores we had thousands of users, and we were able to see something we actually created in the real-world," Brown said.
At the time when Brown invented the iPhone app, the university did not have clear policies in place to separate students from employees. One MU official said the university revised such policies this past summer, so students could compensate from their original work created on the MU campus.