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UMass ranks high for US patents

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts ranks among the top universities granted U.S. patents last year, placing 32nd in the world and third in New England, according to a recent study by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

“We are very proud to see UMass and its distinguished faculty members standing alongside the world’s best colleges and universities — proud but not surprised,” UMass President Robert L. Caret said.

The patents result from research in a wide range of academic fields, from chemistry to veterinary science to plastics engineering. They include: from UMass Medical School, a new gene therapy technique aimed at treating Down’s Syndrome; from UMass Amherst, a patent for software developed at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere that could save lives by providing earlier and more localized warning of severe weather by analyzing observations from multiple networked radar units and; and from UMass Lowell, a patent for an over-the-counter vitamin/nutraceutical formulation that helps provide protection for the aging brain and may improve cognitive performance.

With a total of 57 patents in 2013, UMass placed in the upper third of the top 100 list, behind only MIT and Harvard in the six-state New England region.

The three leading institutions on the list were the University of California with 399 patents, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 281 patents, and Tsinghua University in Beijing with 193 patents.

Caret noted that the UMass scientists who produce the patents advance the University’s research mission and in many cases its teaching mission as well by providing UMass students with “direct access to the leading thinkers in their fields.” Discoveries in the laboratories quickly become presentations in the classroom, he said.

“UMass faculty members are among the world’s most innovative thinkers and researchers and that status certainly is borne out in these new global patent rankings,” Caret added.

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