Clemson University Research Foundation makes strategic shift

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Established in 1981, the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) is a 501(c)(3) organization exclusively founded for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. Since its founding, CURF’s main objective has been to encourage, promote, and support research, development, and related activities of Clemson University.  During its 37 years of operation, CURF has supported diverse research initiatives and facilitated technology transfer at Clemson University. In assisting Clemson faculty with moving their technologies out of the laboratory and into the commercial markets, CURF has served as a key connection between University faculty and industry.


Recently, CURF was challenged with an opportunity to strengthen their support of the CU Research Enterprise through a broader service offering and to reshape their brand in a way that will maximize their ability to operate at the convergence of multiple disciplines.  To meet such a challenge, CURF has partnered with The Brand Leader, a full-service branding firm, to clarify the CURF mission, values, and services to their primary stakeholders, increase visibility of their expanded support role, and promote opportunities for future collaborative research engagements between CU faculty and industry.


The power of the CURF brand lies in CURF’s ability to initiate and build research partnerships between Clemson faculty inventors and industry by leveraging its established core competencies in technology transfer, Intellectual Property, and business development. The basis of CURF’s success is relational and not transactional. In the past, the CURF brand has been primarily focused in marketing the technologies produced and disclosed by faculty researchers at Clemson. As CURF takes the steps to realign their brand with the ClemsonForward 2020 plan, the main focus of their brand will be geared towards providing faculty with the resources they need to promote not only their disclosed technologies, but also their research expertise and interests to a broader audience with the intent of contributing to an overall increase in high-impact research activities throughout the entire Research Enterprise.


After being in business for nearly four decades, CURF recognizes that the needs and interests of their diverse internal and external customers has evolved. It is CURF’s goal  to keep pace with the evolution of their customer base and their needs. Revising the CURF brand voice and strategically positioning their message with the ClemsonForward 2020 plan, will allow CURF to promote and guide their stakeholders to successful outcomes, not only in technology transfer, but in sponsored research engagements throughout the Institute.


Clemson’s 15 patents in 2016 span bioengineering, advanced materials

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Rapid diagnostic tests for point-of-care diagnostics, diabetic-resistant coatings, HIV inhibitors and an impact-resistant, corrosion-prohibiting coating were among the 15 innovations for which Clemson University researchers received patents in 2016.

Tanju Karanfil, vice president for research at Clemson University, says the patent awards are one example of the impact Clemson makes on the region. Image Credit: Craig Mahaffey / Clemson University

The Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) facilitates and manages technology transfer for Clemson faculty. Collaboration between researchers and CURF has produced more than 150 patents that are now available to the private sector for licensing.

The patent recipients received special recognition recently at an annual award event sponsored by the Clemson Inventors Club, a select group of faculty chosen for their high level of research activity, which often produces inventions.

“Invention and innovation in research are just a few ways Clemson impacts the world,” said Tanju Karanfil, vice president for research at Clemson. “Congratulations to all the inventors for their hard work and dedication to academic research.”

Bob Quinn, executive director of the South Carolina Research Authority(SCRA) outlined the new vision for the organization.

“The patent awards are a great representation of the innovation happening at Clemson,” Quinn said. “We were honored to be able to share how SCRA works with innovators to commercialize their technologies.”

“Our annual patent awards recognize the quality of the research being done at Clemson,” said Casey Porto, executive director of the foundation. “It’s a privilege to honor these researchers and celebrate their contributions to innovation that starts at Clemson and moves into the marketplace.”

For a complete list of 2016 Clemson patents and recipients, click here.

For a complete list of all patents awarded to Clemson faculty, click here.

Clemson University researchers received 15 patents in 2017

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Among the 15 patents issued to Clemson University researchers in 2017 were technologies for monitoring and controlling electric power systems, Cartesian robotic printers, lockable knee implants and composite membranes for hydrogen separation.

Inventors, entrepreneurs and university representatives gathered recently to honor Clemson University’s top inventors and patent recipients during the annual Patent Award Ceremony hosted by the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF), which facilitates and manages technology transfer for Clemson faculty.

In addition to recognizing faculty members who received patents in 2017, CURF presented the first Inventor’s Club Awards, a new honor for inventors whose innovations have taken steps toward commercialization.

The event promoted the spirit of innovation at Clemson University through showcasing the 15 patents issued for the calendar year of 2017, adding to CURF’s growing portfolio of more than 150 Clemson University technologies available for licensing. The awards program recognized researcher contributions to a variety of fields, including advanced materials, biomedical science and electrical and computer engineering.

“This networking event allows Clemson’s most innovative minds to convene in one place and be recognized for their contributions to the research community,” said Chris Gesswein, Executive Director of CURF.  “It’s a privilege to honor these inventors and celebrate how research at Clemson impacts the world. Congratulations to all the inventors for their hard work and dedication.”

Guest speaker Jack Ellenberg, Associate Vice President for the Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, gave a presentation titled “Clemson External Affairs: Reenergizing Strategic Corporate Engagement.”

CURF works alongside the university’s Division of Research to provide support to Clemson-affiliated inventors and entrepreneurs though patent protection, marketing, education, material transfer and license negotiation services. This awards event was held in conjunction with the university’s annual Research Symposium, “Moving ClemsonForward through Research.”

For a complete list of patents received in 2017, click here.

For a list of Inventor’s Club Award recipients, click here.