Spring Is Turning Up Interns!
That’s right! Now is the time to get the process underway for staffing your university tech transfer office (TTO) with interns.
As discussed in our white paper about TTO internship programs, summer is the best time to have interns start. This allows them to work a full 30- to 40-hour week with few (if any) other commitments. It also helps them climb the learning curve more quickly.
So look for intern candidates now, before they are snatched up by other companies. Sending out the call for applications now helps ensure you can make your final selections no later than late April.
What to Look for in Applicants
The qualities that make a good technology transfer intern are typically the same as those you seek in your professional staff or consultants. Of course, interns usually have far less experience.
Try to find candidates with a technical background that is well aligned with your technology portfolio.
In addition, any amount of business experience will be very helpful. This background will aid the interns’ understanding of market research and what companies are seeking in a new technology.
Graduate business or engineering programs can be a great place to find good candidates.
During the interviews, look for a positive attitude and enthusiasm toward technology. Ideal interns don’t just think technology is cool. They also can think creatively about potential applications for that technology. They can find ways to address problems beyond the original intended use.
Fuentek has found that including a few creative questions or exercises in the interview process can help you effectively evaluate these traits.
How Many to Hire
If you are just getting started with an internship program, Fuentek recommends a team of four interns.
If you have a broad portfolio, consider assigning each to specific technology areas according to their education/experience. Or you may opt to hire students who have a more broad, generalized technical background.
Rounding Out the Team
If you have law student applicants, consider filling one slot on the team with a student interested in pursuing a career in intellectual property (IP) law.
Library information science (LIS) students can also be a great addition, as they often provide excellent insights for market research. If LIS students are not part of the team, no worries. The other interns can leverage your campus library resources to fill this need.
Planning for Training
Having interns perform technology screenings is a great place to focus your interns’ efforts. Fuentek can help you jump-start the training planning with our webinar designed to teach interns how to work on technology screenings.
If you’re interested in more information about establishing an internship program for your tech transfer office, check out our other Insights on using interns and contact us to discuss how Fuentek can help.