Innovation Asset Blog

Report: Foreign-born students fueling university IP activity

As students from around the world migrate to the United States to take advantage of superior post-secondary education opportunities, it appears as though American colleges and universities are getting as much as they give. According to the latest report released by the Partnership for a New American Economy, foreign-born students are behind 76 percent of the patents awarded to the nation's top 10 patent-generating schools.

The progress made by these young inventors is sending ripples far beyond the higher education community, however. According to the report, the value of these foreign-born students is clear when considering the fact that 99 percent of the patents awarded were in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. By 2018, the United States is projected to face a talent shortage of approximately 230,000 qualified workers in STEM-intensive industries.

In a letter signed by 90 university presidents, educators called upon Congress and the Obama administration to come together for a bipartisan solution that ensures top international graduates have a clear path to a green card. Such standing would allow students to stay in the country after student visas expire and thus contribute to American job development.

The nearly 1,500 patents reviewed in the 2011 sample came from inventors spanning 88 different countries. But as it stands, more than half of these contributors are in demographic groups that face the steepest hurdles when trying to attain citizenship or renew visas.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.