UTI donates money to U of C

By Natalie Sit

University Technologies International Inc. announced a one-time $900,000 donation to the University of Calgary on July 19. Half the amount will ensure the continuation of three fellowships supported by UTI while use of the other $450,000 has yet to be determined.

The 1999/2000 fiscal year was the most successful in UTI’s 11 year history, allowing the company to make the endowment.

"It’s important the fellowships are carried on for another 10 years," said UTI Communications Manager Don Morberg.

UTI supports three $15,000 fellowships for Medicine, Engineering and Science. The money assists post-doctoral and post-graduate researchers with their projects.

Social Work Professor and founder of Living Education Works Inc. Dick Ramsay is glad UTI is returning money to the university community, but feels money should also go to the social sciences.

"All these scholarships are going to hard-science faculties," said Ramsay. "My organization put money into UTI in terms of royalties. In their own words, we are probably a successful venture."

UTI is a university-owned technology commercialization company, meaning it helps researchers patent or license their discoveries or set up their own company.

"Before 1989, the university had an on-site technology transfer office," said Morberg. "Then they came up with the idea of a private company. We opened June 1, 1989 with three employees and now we have 13 employees."

According to Morberg, UTI is a major technology commercialization company in Canada and the world. Also, UTI is unique because most universities only have offices like U of C did in 1989.

UTI’s better known projects include Dr. Maurice Moloney’s technology to grow industrial enzymes or pharmaceutical components in oil seeds and Dr. John Remmers’ Tranquility System to treat obstructive sleep apnea without surgery. As well, UTI helped Dr. Michel Fattiouche set up Wi-LAN Inc., a pioneer in wireless networks, and Cell-Loc, which locates cell phones.

"When a company is set up through UTI, we–on behalf of the university–hold equity," said Morberg. "So when Wi-LAN and Cell-Loc became public, we cashed in on that equity. Some of the $900,000 came from that."

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