Survey of Intellectual Property Commercialization in the Higher Education Sector

Detailed information for 2009





Record number:


The objective of the survey is to assure the availability of pertinent information to monitor science and technology related activities and to support the development of science and technology policy.

Data release - August 16, 2012. The is the final release of Survey of Intellectual Property Commercialization in the Higher Education Sector. The survey has been discontinued.


The objective of the survey is to assure the availability of pertinent information to monitor science and technology related activities and to support the development of science and technology policy. The topic studied is intellectual property management at universities and affiliated teaching hospitals. The data are used to determine how to maximize the benefits resulting from public sector research. Data users include the federal and provincial governments and university administrators and researchers.

Statistical activity

Science and technology (S&T) and the information society are changing the way we live, learn and work. The concepts are closely intertwined: science generates new understanding of the way the world works, technology applies it to develop innovative products and services and the information society is one of the results of the innovations.

People are looking to Statistics Canada to measure and explain the social and economic impacts of these changes.

The purpose of this Program is to develop useful indicators of S&T activity in Canada based on a framework that ties them together in a coherent picture.

Reference period: April 1

Collection period: The questionnaires are mailed out at the beginning of August, about one year after the end of the reference period. Telephone follow-up begin in September. The collection period can last until early March of the following year


  • Education finance
  • Education, training and learning
  • Human resources in science and technology
  • Research and development
  • Science and technology

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The universe is comprised of all members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), as well as the university-affiliated research hospitals. The latter includes some members of the Association of Canadian Teaching Hospitals (ACTH) and some other hospitals reporting R&D activity on the Annual Hospital Survey.

The AUCC represents degree-granting universities and colleges, which are referred to throughout simply as "universities". AUCC members include small, medium and large universities, liberal arts colleges and divinity colleges. Note that the survey includes institutions that grant both university degrees and community college diplomas but not those that grant only the latter. A list of AUCC members is available at

Instrument design

In early 1997, Statistics Canada commissioned a report by The Impact Group, which was entitled "Commercialization of Intellectual Property in the Higher Education Sector: A Feasibility Study." It recommended a set of 50 indicators to measure the components of the commercialization process.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) recommended additional indicators and facilitated consultations with university representatives. A draft questionnaire was produced and subsequently discussed with IP managers in eight universities.

The 2003 questionnaire was redesigned by a working group consisting of the AUCC, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), Industry Canada and Statistics Canada.

For each survey cycle, respondent comments and observed difficulties in completing particular questions are routinely gathered and used to make (mostly minor) changes to the next questionnaire and the survey handbook. In 2008, the questionnaire was streamlined after consultation and testing in order to minimize response burden and improve data quality.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The survey is mailed to the Vice-President of Research of the university or the CEO of the hospital. The accompanying letter mentions the collaboration of the AUCC in the development of the survey. If the institution has a technology transfer office, the questionnaire will typically be sent there for completion. However, for large universities, the information must usually be gathered from several different offices, such as the Office of Research Contracts, the Office of the VP Research and the technology transfer office.

Follow-up for individual institutions is done by telephone. General e-mail reminders are also sent out by Statistics Canada and the AUCC.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

Both micro and macro-editing are done. As questionnaires are returned, the information is captured onto a screen containing the previous response and internal inconsistencies are noted and followed up by telephone. The data are also compared against external public sources of information, such as websites and annual reports, where available.

To validate the data, reports are prepared that show all contributors to a total and the relationships with other variables. This provides a final review of the data.


There is no imputation of missing data for this survey except when additional information is available as a basis for imputation. One of the most common cases of missing data is where information is provided in aggregate form only and not broken down into the categories requested. This was only observed for a few questions. For some questions, historical data was used to break down the reported totals, while for others, the total was placed in the "other" category or in a new "unclassified" category. If there is absolutely no information available, the field is left blank and no imputation is done.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

The US-based Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) has a related survey, in which information on approximately 35 Canadian universities and hospitals is published individually. For the corresponding years, STC compares its survey results to the AUTM data. However, there are variations in the content and definitions between the two surveys.

Data on the value of sponsored research (research grants plus contracts) is obtained from the Canadian Association of Universities Business Offices (CAUBO) Survey. This is used to help verify the value of research contracts as reported on the survey.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

The volatility of certain variables may affect the suppression pattern from year to year.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

Surveys are subject to certain types of errors: coverage, non-response, interpretation and processing errors. The methodology of this survey has been designed to minimize errors and to reduce their potential impact.

Coverage of universities:

There are approximately 110 universities or degree-granting institutions in Canada. The number of universities in Canada varies slightly from year to year but that variation is not particularly meaningful for statistical purposes.

The survey is sent only to members of the AUCC. AUCC members include all the major universities in Canada and particularly those involved in scientific research. Therefore, error due to non-coverage of universities is deemed to be insignificant.

There is some understatement of intellectual property commercialization results for hospitals due to non-response. In addition, some universities report for their affiliated hospitals. If the hospital also reports to the survey, a downward adjustment is made to the university questionnaire. Starting in 2003, all published results are for universities and hospitals combined.

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