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Taking Re$earch to the Bank

by Carole VanSickle



Every time the Tennessee Titans hit the field for a home game, they’re playing on “Georgia turf” — Nashville’s Coliseum is seeded with Tifsport, a special breed of Bermuda grass developed by a University of Georgia researcher.

Marketed to a nationwide distributor by the Technology Commercialization Office (TCO), a division of the UGA Research Foundation (UGARF), the product serves numerous other customers as well.

TCO staff members provide UGA inventors with a professional patenting and commercialization process, but they also radiate some personal enthusiasm for their projects. “I think it’s pretty neat that major NFL teams are playing on UGA turf grass,” said Rob Fincher, director of TCO. “It’s a very hardy breed that recovers from daily abuse — from cleats, for example — in record time and is also popular for golf courses and lawns.”

The Georgia governor's mansion is seeded with a special breed of Bermuda grass developed by a University of Georgia researcher.

Once a UGA researcher discloses an invention — TCO receives about 100 disclosures annually — the office kicks into gear. “As soon as we submit a patent application, we start researching potential markets and uses for the product,” Fincher said. “We contact companies, and if they are interested we begin negotiations to grant a license to develop and sell the product. Sometimes the company even provides support for further development of the technology.”

TCO licenses everything from plumper, disease-resistant blueberries to analytical software to drugs for humans and animals. Companies pay licensee fees and royalties to UGARF, a nonprofit foundation that manages legal and promotional services for UGA commercial endeavors. The inventors and their laboratories receive part of the royalties, and UGARF rededicates its share to supporting other product-development and research efforts across campus.

“By helping to transfer UGA technologies to industry, we help stimulate local and national economies,” said Fincher. “And each time a technology is commercialized, UGA research and UGA inventors get a boost too.”

For more information access or contact Rob Fincher at


Research Communications, Office of the VP for Research, UGA
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