VCU ranks in top 100 for patents

New ranking by the National Academy of Inventors is a reflection of VCU’s excellence in innovation and research.

Front entrance of the Engineering Research Building

The National Academy of Inventors today announced that Virginia Commonwealth University ranked among the top 100 universities in the U.S. for utility patents granted, reflecting VCU’s excellence in innovation and research.

“Transformational research and innovation happens every day at VCU, and it is due to our collaborative and transdisciplinary approach that we are the recipients of this recognition from the NAI,” said P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation. “The impact of VCU’s novel innovations and rapidly growing research enterprise is felt locally, nationally and globally as it continues to work to address society’s most pressing grand challenges.”

Research at VCU is driven by the multi-year One VCU Research Strategic Priorities Plan, which outlines four key research priorities focused on an overall goal of “improving the human condition.” These priorities include: enriching the human experience, establishing a just and equitable society, optimizing health and supporting sustainable energy and environments. The plan capitalizes on VCU’s national prominence in numerous fields of research, innovation and scholarship, and includes aims to further advance VCU’s ranking as one of the top 50 public U.S. research universities. Last year, VCU not only broke into the top 50, but also achieved a goal of crossing $400 million in sponsored research funding, a figure that continues to grow at a rapid pace.

With 17 utility patents granted in 2022, VCU ranked No. 86 on the academy’s national list. Among other Virginia schools, the University of Virginia ranked No. 52 and George Mason University ranked No. 91.

“We thank our peers at NAI for recognizing VCU’s mission to pursue research that translates into real-world applications, which is pushing VCU inventors to come together to address society’s biggest challenges,” said Ivelina Metcheva, Ph.D., assistant vice president for innovation at VCU TechTransfer and Ventures, part of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. “Their work is leading to more leadership opportunities for VCU, more economic development for Central Virginia, and new technologies that improve human lives.”

NAI’s list was created using calendar year data provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The academy has published the top 100 worldwide universities list since 2013. The top 100 U.S. institution list is new, and is meant to provide a focused view of the national innovation landscape and the contributions made by U.S. academic institutions.

The National Academy of Inventors has long recognized leading innovators at VCU.

Eight VCU faculty members have been elected to the NAI Fellows Program, which highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Most recently, Michael Hindle, Ph.D., who leads the Aerosol Research Group on the MCV Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University and holds the Peter R Byron Distinguished Professorship in the VCU School of Pharmacy, was selected as a NAI Fellow in January.

And nine VCU faculty members are NAI Senior Members, recognizing their success in patents, licensing, and commercialization and have produced technologies that have brought or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society. NAI Senior Members are rising stars who foster a spirit of innovation within their communities and institutions while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors. Most recently, Milos Manic, Ph.D., professor of computer science in Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering, was elected to the rank of senior member in 2023.

VCU inventors are supported by VCU TechTransfer and Ventures, which seeks to facilitate commercialization of university inventions for the benefit of the public, to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the university, and to promote industry collaborations and new venture creation.

For fiscal year 2022, VCU TechTransfer and Ventures supported 122 invention disclosures, 144 patents filed, 18 patents issued and 10 startup companies and generated $3.12 million in licensing revenue.