Worth Reading: University-Industry Collaborations, a Social Media Success, the Shutdown, and In Memoriam
Collaborating on IP: Six Things Every CEO Should Know about University Commercialization: University of Texas at Austin technology commercialization director Dan Sharp wrote this excellent piece on university-industry partnerships for Texas CEO Magazine. It’s a worthwhile read for companies looking to universities for technologies. It’s also useful for university technology transfer offices (TTOs) looking to increase industry understanding of the university’s position and what to expect in partnership negotiations — this type of outreach within the local/regional business community can be replicated virtually anywhere. Although mostly directed at CEOs, #4 is worth a careful read by TTOs for its reminder about effective behavior when interacting with industry.
Another collaboration-related item is Universities Stepping Up Efforts To Discover Drugs, posted on the Forbes site by John LaMattina. LaMattina’s post features the Academic Drug Discovery Consortium, a non-profit organization designed to (among other things) help exchange know-how and expertise related to drug discovery programs, technologies, faculty engagement, industry partnerships, and contractual arrangements. I found his penultimate paragraph particularly insightful:
However, I did get the sense that ADDC members are overpromising on what they can deliver. In many ways, these institutions sound like a biotech start-up company. Comments such as “new drug discovery paradigm” and “we operate with unhindered constraints normally found in pharma” were déjà vu for me. Furthermore, while many of the discovery efforts that I heard about are at early stages, I didn’t get a sense that these programs are moving with greater speed, efficiency or with a higher degree of success than is happening in industry. Drug discovery is a very hard endeavor no matter where the labs are located.
This is a good reminder to universities to be realistic in their “marketing.”
Social Media Success
Social Media Assists in New Licensing Agreement for a Temple Technology: If you’ve read our other musings on social media, you won’t be surprised that we found this story interesting. Not only does it show a signed deal with its origins in social media, but it also demonstrates how long it can take before the rewards of social media efforts in tech transfer communications can take — in this case, 2 years. For more on this topic, see our “TTOs Weigh in on Social Media: Proponents and Detractors Offer Important Insights” blog post, which includes details from our white paper, “The State of Social Media in Tech Transfer: 2013 Survey Results and Recommendations.”
Impact of the Federal Government Shutdown
Having begun the month with the shutdown of the federal government, I’d be remiss to end the month without offering up some articles about its impact on R&D, technology transfer, and the U.S. economy:
- Dark Days for Medical Research, published in The Atlantic, chronicles the negative consequences of both the shutdown and sequestration for research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- Shutdown to Cost U.S. Billions, Analysts Say, While Eroding Confidence in The New York Times, illustrates that it’s more than just the NIH that was impacted.
My thoughts: Bravo, Congress, for clearly knowing the best way to help the U.S. economy. Sheesh!
Finally, this month saw the passing of technology transfer pioneer Howard Bremer. Having worked closely with Bremer in developing the Bayh-Dole Act, Joe Allen observed that Bremer was “internationally recognized as a real expert in the field, [yet] he was always a very humble man.” As Sean Flanigan noted, Bremer selflessly gave back to the profession throughout his career, with his active involvement in the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM®). And as Doug Moe noted in “A Passion for Patents” for the Wisconsin State Journal, “It’s impossible to exaggerate what Bremer’s patent work meant to WARF [the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation], and by extension, UW-Madison and society at large.” He will be missed.