Lublin University of Technology, Lodz University of Technology and Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences – these are the three universities that received the most patents in Poland last year. What was the most interesting thing that the local inventors managed to develop? How are they supported by their universities?
Every year, the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland publishes a report presenting, among others, statistical data on patents granted to universities. In other words, it is a list of universities, ranked according to the number of reported inventions in various fields.
Which universities have been on the podium in recent years?
We analyzed the last three available rankings, i.e. for the years 2019-2021. Their conclusions can be summarized briefly. Contrary to appearances, most inventions were not reported by universities located in the capital or with the longest history in the country. The situation on the podium in this period is as follows.
In 2019, the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin came first (121 patents granted), the Lublin University of Technology came second (118), and the Lodz University of Technology came third (101).
In 2020, the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin (85) again came first, followed by the Lodz University of Technology (73), and the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow (70).
Top ten in the latest ranking
However, in 2021 – i.e. in the latest report – it was ranked first Lublin University of Technology (136 granted patents), on the second again Technical University of Lodz (121), and on the third University of Life Sciences in Wroclaw (118).
In the case of these universities, it is also worth indicating which faculties showed the greatest innovation. At the Lublin University of Technology, the largest number of patents went to the account of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Faculty of Environmental Engineering.
At the Lodz University of Technology, the three most innovative units in terms of granted patents are the Faculty of Chemistry, the Faculty of Materials Technology and Textile Design and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. At the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, these are the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences, the Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Geodesy, and the Faculty of Life Sciences and Technology.
Further places in the latest ranking of inventions – limited to the top ten – were shaped in the following order: Silesian University of Technology (116), Warsaw University of Technology (106), Wrocław University of Technology (102) Poznań University of Technology (97), West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin (96) , AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow (95), Rzeszów University of Technology (69), Krakow University of Technology (44), University of Silesia in Katowice (42), Medical University of Lublin (39).
Examples of the most interesting inventions from universities on the podium
We have also selected the most interesting inventions, in our opinion, and those with the greatest commercialization potential, which were created within the walls of the three highest ranked universities last year. Their spectrum of application is really wide: from medicine to agriculture.
The Lublin University of Technology patented, for example, a system for contactless energy transfer between electric vehicles, a connector for a middle ear implant with adjustable stiffness, a skew rolling mill for rolling material using three diagonally arranged conical rolls, a method of foaming asphalt using a two-component mineral additive or the use of ashes as functionalized materials used in environmental engineering, construction and agriculture.
Examples of more interesting patents from the Lodz University of Technology are a device for jaw rehabilitation, a biodegradable composition for packaging, an ultra-fast hybrid DC switch designed especially for railway traction or a system for automatically selecting the concentration of desflurane administered in complex general anesthesia, or a method of purifying water and wastewater containing organic compounds biodegradable and bacteria by photosensitized oxidation.
Finally, examples of patents from the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences are the method of kynurenic acid production, which can be used e.g. in the treatment of corneal epithelial defects, the development of new flavonoid glycosides with potential antimicrobial activity, devices for measuring displacements or a cultivator tooth for layer soil cultivation.
How do the best universities support innovation?
New inventions are, of course, primarily due to their creators, who persistently devote their time to tedious analyzes and tests. It is worth remembering, however, that the efforts of the most talented academics and students are supported by the university at all levels. How?
At the Lublin University of Technology, inventors could take advantage of e.g. from mini grants (up to PLN 100,000) as part of the “Incubator of Innovation 4.0” project in 2021-2022 and the assistance of teams carrying out pre-implementation work, i.e. business verification of the applicability of the results of the work.
– Under the “Science for Society” project, 10 works are currently being carried out, which will result in prototypes of inventions submitted for patenting in the last 3 years. In addition, the Center for Innovation and Technology Transfer of the Lublin University of Technology supports scientists by presenting inventions at international exhibitions and competitions, informs Paweł Kucharski from the Office of the Rector and University Organization of the Lublin University of Technology.
At the Lodz University of Technology, there are, among others, Section of Patent Attorneys, which in addition to preparing descriptions of patent claims also conducts research on the state of various fields of technology. The effect of this work is an additional source of information for inventors in which areas of technology new solutions should be sought.
“Patents are the result of well-funded research. At the Lodz University of Technology, we have a large Project Service Center with teams specializing in supporting scientists in the preparation of very good applications for national and European grants. We are currently implementing 10 of the latter at the Lodz University of Technology. In principle, most of them are related to the need for patent protection of solutions, as they are innovative not only on a national, but also European scale – comments Vice-Rector Prof. Strumiłło, vice-rector of the Lodz University of Technology.
Lodz University of Technology has also introduced a system of financial incentives. It is about a system of rewards for scientific publications, obtained grants and granted patents.
– We are a university that supports scientists and creates the best conditions for their work and development. The Patent Attorney’s Office makes it easier for them to “go through” the procedures related to the notification of inventions, and the Research and Development Center supports them in the process of commercialization of patents or granting a license to use a patented solution – adds Małgorzata Moczulska, spokesperson of the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences.