A closer look at The iBridge Network – over 900 innovations strong

July 16th, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

We first wrote about The iBridgeSM Network a few months ago, the day after their new Web site was publicly launched at DEMO 07. Since then, the number of research universities has nearly doubled, with the most recent addition being the University of California system – an additional 10 campuses.

The iBridge Network now boasts 902 innovations (as of July 17, 2007), making it among the larger online networks. The site serves as a clearinghouse for innovation, featuring unique research materials posted by the participating universities, helping to facilitate the transfer of those innovations through standardized licensing and a searchable index system.

We are collaborating with the project to deploy the initial release of our MTA system for use on the network, available to all participating schools. The MTA system allows materials to be easily found and searched on the Web, also allowing providers to provide offers for materials that are listed under standard agreements, including the new suite of MTAs from Science Commons, as well as the existing Uniform Biological Materials Transfer Agreement and the Simple Letter Agreement.

“The project is open to additional research institutions to put content up on the site. We focus much more broadly than commercializable content, making it a perfect mesh with [Science Commons’] MTA content,” said Laura Paglione, director of The iBridge Network at the Kauffman Innovation Network, Inc. “If the network just focused on commercial content, there might not be an MTA component.”

Standard licensing is key in order to allow providers and recipients the ability to not only locate materials but to engage in real-time automated transactions, similar to those on eBay or where materials can be ordered online. Our MTA work further provides the contract description framework that makes this possible, as well as software and technology tools, such as metadata that will allow materials on the Web to be identified by MTA availability.

“Schools are excited about having a way to use standardized agreements,” Paglione said. “We’re happy to provide that functionality to users.”

The iBridge Network is a program of the Kauffman Innovation Network, Inc., an initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. For more information about the project or to search their index of innovations, visit their Web site.

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