As research universities are placing an increased emphasis on economic development, we agree that it’s entirely appropriate—even essential—that faculty advancement decisions include activities in tech transfer, innovation, and entrepreneurship, just as they include published research papers in these decisions. We are excited to delve into this topic at a session we’re moderating this fall at AUTM’s Eastern Region Meeting in Raleigh, NC.
I was recently chatting with folks in the technology transfer office (TTO) at the University of Vermont (UVM). They asked Fuentek to help again this year with evaluating proposals for the SPARK-VT gap funding program. SPARK-VT is designed “to address the challenges of translating novel research into the community” by funding additional research and commercialization. Last year, Fuentek was asked to help evaluate proposals.
Broader marketing efforts—those that demonstrate your tech transfer know-how—can elevate the profile of your technology transfer office (TTO). It can also cultivate productive relationships with your organization’s researchers, management, and potential partners/licensees. To help TTOs be successful with these efforts, this post shares the best practices that Fuentek has found to be effective time and again with our clients.
Summer is a great time of year to be in Minneapolis. (I used to row under that bridge!) And it’s particularly nice when I also get to participate in a session at the AUTM Central Region Meeting. The session—Ownership in the University Setting: Do You Own What You Think You Own?—will discuss the often complex intellectual property (IP) issues that occur in the university setting.
At a growing number of universities, technology transfer offices (TTOs) are being asked to educate students about protecting IP, evaluating a technology’s market potential, licensing, and so forth. Making classroom connections has several benefits for the TTO. Read about AUTM panelists’ efforts as well as university training offerings for current and future tech transfer professionals.
What makes an invention disclosure a high-quality invention disclosure? This is an interesting question that has nothing to do with the quality of the technology. Fundamentally, a high-quality disclosure includes enough detail for a patent attorney to identify novel aspects for patentability. It also includes the inventor’s perspective on the technology’s commercialization value. This helps the TTO to better evaluate the invention’s market potential and commercialization options. Unfortunately, many invention disclosure submissions come up short. The possible reasons for this vary. But mostly it seems to boil down to a lack of researcher understanding of the importance and role of the invention disclosure.
Invention disclosures are a technology transfer office’s (TTO’s) bread and butter. Therefore, TTO success depends in large part on having a productive relationship with your organization’s researchers. Building a strong foundation with researchers is an ongoing process that happens before, during, and after they file their invention disclosures. Fuentek’s experience has shown that there are three areas where a TTO can focus these efforts…
Having spent 15+ years helping major research universities manage their intellectual property (IP), Fuentek knows a great deal about efficient and effective tech transfer. We’ve also seen that many universities struggle to explain this complex process to their stakeholders — administrators, researchers, and even legislators.
Keep in mind that many of the judges are shopping for employees. This is your chance to impress them. You might get a job out of it. Plus, the skills we’re talking about today are relevant for the rest of your life: getting a job or your next slug of funding, pitching projects internally, negotiating for salary/promotion. Even if you become a professor, you’ll be selling all the time as you try to get lab equipment or funding. Like it or not, you will constantly be selling for the rest of your professional life in order to advance your career.
Technology Transfer Tactics ran an in-depth article on best practices for handling departing faculty researchers, post-docs, visiting researchers, and the like. As one of the sources quoted, I was pleased to see the thorough treatment this topic received, because bad things can happen if you don’t stay in front of intellectual property (IP) issues when it comes to transitioning faculty…. There was a lot of great advice in the article. Here’s my take on a few key recommendations.