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UC Riverside is Part of New Initiative to Share Patented Research on Agriculture

UC Riverside is Part of New Initiative to Share Patented Research on Agriculture

(July 14, 2003)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- ( -- UC Riverside is joining 13 other institutions and foundations in an effort aimed to simplify the management and sharing of their intellectual property and facilitate access to each other’s current and future patented agricultural technologies. A paper outlining the new initiative appears in the July 11, 2003, issue of Science and is coauthored by the chancellors or presidents of the universities or foundations.

Named PIPRA or the Public-Sector Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture, the initiative also aims to achieve food security for the poor and excluded of the world, and has long-term goals for coordinating research-based technology packages and know-how for projects that will directly address critical global agricultural needs.

“One of the University of California's objectives in technology transfer is the public benefit and it makes intuitive sense that collective action with other institutions may enhance our impact in that regard,” said Richard C. Atkinson, president of the University of California. “PIPRA is an experiment that will test this supposition. It may also lead to new paradigms of action that could be important in other technology sectors as well.”

With the introduction of biotechnology in agriculture, researchers have been able to develop improved staple and specialty crop varieties. Agricultural biotechnology is a major emphasis of the UCR Genomics Institute. Established in 2000, the institute brings together faculty from a number of academic units on campus to foster innovations that advance quality of life in terms of greater agricultural productivity and more nutritious foods.

The Science paper notes that since 1980 there has been a marked increase in the number of public sector patents and the licensing of technology to the private sector. But the public research sector, the paper argues, finds itself increasingly restricted when wishing to develop new crops with the technologies it has itself invented, posing a barrier to the applications of biotechnology in the development of new crops.

PIPRA’s immediate objectives are to review public sector patenting and licensing practices, develop a collective public intellectual property asset database, and making shared technology packages available to member institutions and to the private sector.

Besides the University of California (including UC Riverside and UC Davis), PIPRA participants include the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the Rockefeller Foundation, North Carolina State University, the Ohio State University, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Rutgers — the State University of New Jersey, Michigan State University, Cornell University, the McKnight Foundation, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Florida.

The UCR Genomics Institute provides researchers and students access to state-of-the-art tools for advanced studies in genomics, gene expression, proteomics, microscopy and bioinformatics. Research efforts are focused on insect genomics, plant cell biology/genomics, microbial genomics, mammalian genomics and bioinformatics. Through an associated Biotechnology Impacts Center, the institute also explores the policy dimensions of biotechnology, taking into consideration the social, economic, environmental and ethical impacts of new technologies.

UC Riverside’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) integrates the agricultural, biological and physical sciences under one umbrella to create an atmosphere favorable for multidisciplinary research. Plant disease such as Pierce's Disease, which threatens California's grapevines, and exotic insects such as the olive fruit fly, one of the most damaging pests of the olive in southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, are among the subjects of today's intensive research efforts in CNAS. The college has 215 faculty members in 13 academic departments and conducts research that explores the fundamental principles underlying biological activity, the nature of the physical universe, and mathematical and statistical operations.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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