Behind the Scenes: How to Break into the Technology Transfer Field

In 1980, the Bayh–Dole Act gave universities ownership of the intellectual property rights of research, even if federal funding had financed the project. In the following years, universities began to profit off of research, and technology transfer took off.

With this expansion of the technology transfer field came the need for professionals who understood both science and business. As the gatekeepers between research and commercialization, these individuals have to have an eye for potential. They also need to make sure that everyone from researchers to corporate partners value technology transfer in the same way.  These individuals who link research and industries have become the heart of technology transfer.

Although growth of technology transfer in the U.S. has slowed slightly there are still plenty of opportunities within the field, and there are a few things you should know about who is getting hired.

Many professionals in the field have backgrounds in research and science themselves, but now act as licensing managers, industry relations officers, and grant writers.  While, research and science training provide a good base of knowledge, there are other doors into technology transfer as well.

Technology transfer offices, like that of the University of Washington now look for interns to help with project summary, licensing, and other important aspects of development. These internships are great opportunities to learn about the industry and they can also lead to full time positions.

Business experience and a law background can also give a candidate an advantage.  Assessing market potential through pricing models and understanding contracts are major components of the industry, so business and law knowledge can provide candidates with a major competitive advantage. And, as with many professions, people and communication skills can greatly impact one’s success in technology transfer too.

Clearly there is no direct career path to obtaining a position in technology transfer, and companies often must search relentlessly to find professionals that bring the correct mixture of experience and background to the table. However, it is clear that in this ever-evolving industry, the more multifaceted a candidate the greater their chances of success in the technology transfer field.

Do you feel your background parallels well with the technology transfer industry? Follow these tips to jump start your job search. Do you need help finding the right technology transfer professional or position? Contact the Vortechs Group, and let us help you find the perfect match!

Leave a Comment