A Pre-AUTM 2014 Reading List
Following up on last week’s Worth Reading post, I’d like to offer this postscript for those of you going the AUTM® 2014 meeting in a couple of weeks. These two items will help you with your networking and prepare you for our panel on incentivizing researcher participation in technology transfer. BTW, have you taken our 5-minute survey yet? Do it now! It closes Feb. 12th.
First off, we have The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University. Released in November, this report from the U.S. Commerce Department and the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) presents “the increasingly diverse ways in which colleges and universities across America are promoting cultures of entrepreneurship on campus and encouraging students to start companies.”
Although each program featured in the report has a unique character and any emulation would need to be structured to the specifics of a particular institution, the programs do have basic elements that will be common across a wide range of schools.
The report organizes the examples into the following topic areas – many of which we’ve blogged about here, as well:
- Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship – Check out this recent post on making undergrads more entrepreneurial.
- Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship – This is the topic for Danielle’s panel at AUTM (see below), and we have lots of other posts about making faculty more proactive participants in commercialization.
- Actively supporting university technology transfer – The report focuses on reducing technology transfer barriers, expanding TTOs level of support to include student interns and entrepreneur mentors, protecting intellectual property, shrinking the funding gap through programs such as Emory’s DRIVE, and the use of regional tech transfer centers and cross-institution collaboration.
- Facilitating university-industry collaboration – Again, we have lots of posts on this topic.
- Engaging in regional and local economic development efforts – One of our most popular white papers has been “Enhancing Economic Development through Technology Transfer of Federal- and State-Funded R&D“
The report provides a nice list of institutions to talk with as you plan to implement similar programs, so you can learn from their experiences and find the right combination of tactics at your school. The upcoming AUTM meeting may be a good opportunity to talk specifics with your colleagues from these institutions in person. The AUTM Connect™ tool makes it easy to reach out to them.
The second item I’d like to share is a study analyzing barriers to cancer research commercialization by the University of Kentucky. Appearing in PLOS One last fall, this study aligns perfectly with the Incentives Programs panel on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 22nd at the AUTM meeting we’ve put together. Markey Cancer Center faculty’s responses to Kentucky’s survey indicated that “revising university policies/procedures… [and] more emphases on commercialization by academia research field… could potentially increase commercialization activity.” As Danielle mentioned in her blog post, the panelists will discuss precisely how they addressed this at their institutions: the Texas A&M System, the University of Arizona, and the University of North Carolina–Gressnboro.
IMHO, the concerns expressed by the Kentucky faculty are not surprising. And the good news is, most of them can be addressed. For example, concerns about the expense and time involved in commercialization can be address from two angles:
- Regarding the too-much-time issue, allowing faculty to have commercialization count toward their performance evaluations will put it on par with other key job objectives, taking it out of the “extracurricular” realm and letting them dedicate “on the job” time to it.
- For the too-little-money concern, having the tech transfer office (TTO) implement a triage-type screening process reduces the costs of patenting unproductive IP and allows the TTO to focus its resources on proactively seeking partners as soon as U.S. IP protection begins, which reduces foreign filing costs (if no interest is found) and creates better prospects.
Again, I hope you all will take the 5-minute survey on this topic, even if you’re not going to AUTM 2014. And remember that “incentive programs” can take many forms. Programs such as the DIFF at Purdue recently covered on Tech Transfer Central’s blog, which provides tech transfer mentors to researchers, also counts as the type of incentive we want to hear about.
The survey closes February 12th.