One of the most requested qualifications our clients ask for is experience. It’s non-negotiable in tech transfer because this demanding job has a lot of intricacies that are only realized and perfected through time on the job.
But how do you gain experience if no one will hire a newbie?
3 Ways to Break Into Tech Transfer
There are a number of skills you can add to your resume, and background you can develop, without direct tech transfer experience, that will help you get noticed – and employed.
Come in the Side Door: R&D
Tech transfer professionals operate in two worlds – one in academia and one in commercial companies. If you don’t have the background to get hired in a tech transfer department in a research institution, work your way up on the commercialization side. Research and development in a large company with a formalized new product development program is an excellent background that will help give you a much broader understanding of commercialization, and the people involved, when you eventually join a tech transfer office.
Concentrate on Your Education
In addition to skills, tech transfer professionals value an education. To lead an office you’ll most likely need a Ph. D. so continuing your education is an investment in your future career. In addition to an advanced degree in a science area, add product marketing classes to the mix, and patent classes or workshops. While you probably don’t need to pass the patent bar, a strong working knowledge of patents will help you understand the process. If you’re in school at a University that has a tech transfer department, offer to volunteer your time for on-the-job training.
The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) also has a number of learning opportunities through webinars as well as informative articles. Join and avail yourself of these resources.
Work in a Corporate Lab or Business Development
If you’ve spent your education on the science end, suggesting a job in business development may seem out of place, but it’s that same amalgam of science and commercialization skills that will make you stand out to a technology transfer recruiter and department. Universities with technology transfer specialization coursework are starting to see the value in educating future employees in commercialization. It’s a side few see before working in technology transfer.
If you’re trying to break into tech transfer, the best way to do it is by standing out from your competition. If you have concentrated on your education and developed skills on the commercialization end, you will be very appealing to tech transfer departments. Good luck!