A photo of two people walking on a brick sidewalk. They are passing a sign that spells out \"VCU\" in giant yellow letters.

VCU ranked in nation’s Top 100 for university utility patents for second year

The National Academy of Inventors list recognizes campus commitment to research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Share this story

For the second year, the National Academy of Inventors has ranked Virginia Commonwealth University among the Top 100 universities in the U.S for utility patents granted. The ranking recognizes VCU’s research culture of innovation and commitment to solving real-world problems.

“VCU’s continued rank as a Top 100 university for utility patents is a testament to our transdisciplinary approach to research,” said P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation. “This recognition from our peers at NAI shows that VCU is a place for innovation. At no other time in the university’s history have our researchers been more widely recognized for their contributions to transformative innovation.”

With 13 utility patents granted in 2023, VCU ranked No. 98 on the NAI’s national list. The year before, VCU was ranked No. 86, with 17 utility patents granted.

Led by TechTransfer and Ventures, VCU helps commercialize campus inventions for the benefit of the public. These efforts foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the university and promote industry collaborations and new venture creation. For fiscal year 2023, the team recorded 29 new licenses, filed 165 patents and generated close to $3 million in licensing revenue.

“So many of our VCU faculty are both researchers and innovators,” said Ivelina Metcheva, Ph.D., assistant vice president for innovation at TechTransfer and Ventures, part of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. “We are thrilled to have this recognition, and it is our privilege to help our researchers protect their inventions and take them to the marketplace.”


The NAI’s rankings aim to provide a comprehensive view of intellectual property protection in the innovation ecosystem. As a complement to its international ranking of universities, the academy introduced its U.S. list a year ago, providing a more focused view of the national landscape and the contributions made by U.S. academic institutions.

Currently, 11 VCU research faculty are recognized as NAI senior members and eight as fellows. Most recently, Richard Marconi, Ph.D., and Martin Safo, Ph.D., were inducted as senior members for their treatment and diagnosis of life-threatening diseases.

Marconi, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine, is internationally known for his development of tests and vaccines for Lyme disease, including one used for canines. Safo, a professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the School of Pharmacy, is largely focused on research aimed at advancing treatment for sickle cell disease, which predominantly affects Black patients.

For fiscal 2023, VCU achieved a record $464.6 million in sponsored research, up 71% since 2018. With $406.9 million in research expenditures for 2022, VCU was ranked No. 47 among public research universities by the National Science Foundation – its highest-ever ranking. VCU is also in the Top 20 of the nation’s most innovative public universities as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.