Recently I was privileged to be invited to present on Technology Transfer at the NSF Professional Development In Ceramics Workshop. Organized by Dr. Erica Corral of University of Arizona and by Dr. Lynette Masden of NSF.
As I prepared my presentation and then met with faculty from different universities at the event I realized how lucky we are at the University of Illinois to have an enlightened and supportive administration.
Some thoughts I shared:
The Bayh Dole act underpins our work in that we are expected to file on patents we own, but we need to set the criteria on which technologies we choose, and be transparent about how we do that.
From $59 billion dollars of sponsored research reported in the AUTM survey there were 20,642 inventions, 651 startups and $2 billion of royalties (reported here). These are commonly used metrics- but don't forget others- including, jobs, tax revenues, and leveraging funding from other sources,
And..we are all part of the national innovation system, don't underestimate the impact of your technologies and innovations It's a necessary part of a much bigger system. For a great illustration of this, see page 3 of the NSF's report on Research & Development, Innovation, and the Science and Engineering Workforce.
Every institution has an innovation ecosystem comprising its policies, people and resources. Do you know what your ecosystem is?
Don't forget you don't need to have an invention to engage with your tech transfer office. In fact it might be better to touch base before you do, to get to know the disclosure process, timeline and expectations for involvement.
We deal with much more than inventions:
- Confidentiality agreements
- Material transfer agreements (out of the institution)
- Inter institutional agreements- (did you just move here, are you moving away and have inventions already)
- Graduate Student internships with IP implications
- Consulting and IP issues
- Thinking of starting a company
....the list goes on.
We are here to help- we aim to be enablers and facilitators of the transfer of technology to the market place.
Let us know how else we can help.
Lesley Millar, Director
(photo courtesy of Regan Harrison)