Several years ago medical schools began offering coursework on small business management. After all they noted doctors, in addition to becoming physicians upon graduation and coursework completion, became small business owners when they opened their first practice.
Now this same kind of future needs concept is spreading to preparing researchers for the eventual commercialization of their ideas.
University Commercialization Training for More Efficient Tech Transfer
There are several reasons why this sort of training is advantageous in the future of tech transfer. The National Science I-Corps program is largely seen as the industry standard in this area. The program recognized the need and helps with some of the following:
A large part of the business world is about branding and marketing a product or service. In today’s climate with the advent and increase in social media it’s about more than marketing the product or concept. There’s a large push to market the personal brand as well. The person behind the concept is becoming a bigger part of the story. University commercialization training could help researchers understand what angel investors and companies are looking for from a marketing perspective.
Teaching an overview of marketing to researchers would also help increase the understanding behind creating more marketable ideas and spin-offs and decreasing the amount of time between laboratory and “shelf.”
Researchers are not classic entrepreneurs. Many are used to working in very controlled environments. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, must understand, and embrace, risk. Educating researchers on how to parlay their creative problem-solving abilities into creative business planning on a start-up front, will help them take their discoveries into the world at a quicker rate and with more knowledge of the process and what it takes to be successful in a start-up.
The University of Texas at Dallas sees this component as an integral part of educating the 21st century medical researcher. The school has acquired $172,500 in funding from the UT System’s Office of Technology Commercialization’s Entrepreneur Network, to establish a Medical Technology Lean Startup Course. This summer the school plans to launch a cost-free 6-week pilot program modeled after the successful National Science I-Corps program.
Will Rosellini, principal investigator for the project and director of commercialization at the Texas Biomedical Device Center at UT Dallas, points out “There are several aspects to commercializing a technology or a medical discovery that scientists might not be familiar with or comfortable with. Because of this gap in knowledge, many biomedical start-up companies waste time and money in their initial efforts, and many fail altogether. This course is aimed at eliminating those mistakes and helping researchers more efficiently move their discoveries to market.”
Are you participating in or hosting similar training? Share your experiences below.
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