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IP Advocate Survey Finds What Defines a Great University

IP Advocate recently conducted a survey in association with Synovate that polled 1,000 Americans nationwide. The survey's principle findings were that universities with renowned faculty and top-ranked research centers are what make a university great. IP Advocate sought to determine which of five criteria was considered most important by survey participants when evaluating a university of excellence.


A substantial majority selected these two criteria among five available. The other criteria were large endowment, quality athletic program and diverse student body. More than 1/3 of survey respondents (35%) ranked renowned faculty highest with top-ranked research center a close second (34%). With less than twenty percent (19%), diverse student body ranked third, followed by quality athletic program (7%) and large endowment (5%).


Renowned faculty and top-ranked research center were consistently the top two criteria selected. This was true across nearly every demographic breakdown, although they jockeyed for first position. The only exception in the top two was in the racial breakdown; for non-white respondents, a diverse student body was the second most popular choice with top-ranked research center at the top.



The overall survey results are portrayed in the graphical representation above. Other significant rankings of IP Advocate's survey of primary factor by specific demographic breakdown include:

  • Education
    • Undergraduate/some college
      • Renowned faculty - 39%
      • Top-ranked research center - 31%
    • Post-graduate education
      • Top-ranked research center - 37%
      • Renowned faculty - 34%
  • Region
    • Southern Region Top-ranked research center - 38%
      Northeast Top-ranked research center - 31%
      Midwest and West Top-ranked research center - 32%
  • Gender
    • Females Renowned faculty - 38%
      Males Renowned faculty - 32.5% *
  • *Although men were three times more likely than women to rank athletic program first (10%).

  • Income
    • >$75,000 Renowned faculty - 40% Diverse student body - 15%
      $50-75,000 Renowned faculty - 39% Diverse student body - 13%
      $25-50,000 Renowned faculty - 33% Diverse student body - 25%
      <$25,000 Renowned faculty - 27% Diverse student body - 25%

The results of the IP Advocate/Synovate survey resonate with the views of IP Advocate founder, former UGA research professor and inventor of billion-dollar drug Restasis®, Dr. Renee Kaswan:


"Americans' high regard for faculty and research reveals the value we place on exploration and innovation at the university level. Imagine how invigorated our country's pursuit of innovation would be if our news reports covered research discoveries as enthusiastically as they do college football, or if faculty appointments got as much play as Wall Street CEOs. The public has a huge stake in how our universities function – many are supported at least in part by our tax dollars and we all benefit from a quality educational system."


IP Advocate (www.IPAdvocate.org) is a non-profit organization that educates and empowers faculty researchers on patent rights and the process of commercialization – helping inventors protect their rights during the complex process of getting their invention from the lab to the people who need it. IP Advocate is a rich resource of information and best practices related to the commercialization of intellectual property.

IP Advocate's survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 %. For a full copy of the survey results, email



Comments : 2 - Last Post : Aug 13, 2009 11:20 AM by: rowan32
re: IP Advocate Survey Finds What Defines a Great University
Posted by morgan: Aug 13, 2009 11:03 AM

I enjoy this site and have been using it regularly for research. Are there going to be more surveys provided as it helps qualify some of the articles you are presenting. I think it is very important that the faculty are first among all of the other measures. I am no longer in the professional academic arena, but I use your site to gain access to valuable research and documents to support other IP and IC initiatives my firm represents. Thanks IP Advocate! Great job!

re: IP Advocate Survey Finds What Defines a Great University
Posted by rowan32: Aug 13, 2009 11:20 AM

These results are very powerful! I hope universities take notice of the importance of their faculty.

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