Catalyzing applied research in Peru

Author:Catherine Jewell
Position:Communications Division, WIPO

Universities in all countries play a key role in pushing the boundaries of scientific and technological development. But translating research results into practical applications that benefit society can be a challenge, particularly in developing countries where national innovation ecosystems are in their infancy. Developing and implementing an institution-wide intellectual property (IP) policy is ... (see full summary)


Recognizing the significant benefits that can flow from the strategic use of IP, Peru’s Pontifical Catholic University (PUCP) has been at the forefront of efforts to strengthen its applied research activities and to encourage other national universities to follow suit. Making IP a strategic priority is enabling it to harness the value to its research results and bolstering its reputation in international research rankings. It is also supporting efforts to strengthen Peru’s national innovation ecosystem.

PUCP’s IP strategy: dividends

The University’s IP strategy began to take shape in 2004 and was formally adopted in 2009. In the same year, it established an IP office which offers a range of IP support and business development services to researchers across the campus.

“The University’s IP strategy establishes a solid basis to promote innovation and creativity across the campus,” says Melisa Guevara, who heads up PUCP’s IP office. PUCP’s IP strategy also sets out arrangements to reward researchers for their commercially successful inventions. “This has been a very effective way to get the buy-in of researchers,” notes Ms. Guevara. “Royalty payments create a very useful additional income stream for researchers.”

“Clear rules are always a good thing. Having clarity about what you own, what PUCP owns and what is shared makes things much easier,” says Adolfo Pillihuaman, a researcher in the University’s engineering department. “PUCP’s support and commitment to applied research and IP is having a positive impact on the University’s researchers and their outputs. It has fired the creativity of everyone and is helping us to demonstrate the value and quality of our work.”

Mr. Pillihuaman’s research team, which includes Edmundo Alfaro and Manuel Shishido, is working on a novel, cost-effective and environmentally-sound mining technology to extract precious metals from refractory ores. Peru is a one of the world’s leading exporters of minerals like copper and gold, accounting for around 60 percent of the country’s exports.

PUCP’s IP office has its own budget and is fully autonomous. Its multi-disciplinary team of IP experts is responsible for evaluating the patentability of any new technologies developed on campus, and for developing appropriate IP strategies for their commercialization. This is having a “decisive impact on the development of patent-protectable technology in our laboratories,” says Ms. Guevara. The office also offers researchers...

To continue reading