CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Monday, May 02, 2005

University Research or Private Incubator

This Toronto Star article speaks volumes regarding the fine line between university research and the creation of private enterprise. Whereas privately funded research becomes the property of the company where and whom funds it, it becomes fuzzy when private research is conducted at a publicly funded university, and even more so when publicly funded research is conducted at a public university. [There are are added scenerios when the mix includes private universities.] How does one categorize the private research conducted on the premises of a public university?

The Toronto Star article is not fully clear regarding the funding of the origins of the enterprise that these researchers would like to create. The article refers to the work as being conducted in their spare time, but without the software and equipment at hand - would this have come to be? Possibly not, as those items were most probably funded by the public purse.

There should not be a bar to doing the research, but whom should be the benefactor/s? and at what point could this convert to private gain, if ever?

This conundrum has been at play for a very long time at universities and colleges. There are a variety of solutions that have been used and are currently in use dependent upon the circumstances and the particular institution.

Some academics have lost tenure as a result of these issues, where the line became drawn, then was crossed, and there was some substantial monetary gains [occassionally this would lead into the hands of the police and then the courts].


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