What it Takes to Work in Technology Transfer

Tech transfer is an incredibly exciting area. Nowhere else can you be as directly involved in affecting the future of our world in so many different ways. Sure, researchers and scientists have a hand in the future but they spend their entire lives in one area. Tech transfer professionals can help find corporate support for new cancer research in the morning and a new protocol for diabetes in the afternoon.

A special position calls for a special person.

Top Qualities of the Technology Transfer Professional

If you’re wondering if you have what it takes to work in commercialization, or if you currently work in tech transfer and wonder what most of our clients are looking for, here’s a partial list:

Possess Stellar (and flexible) Communication Skills

Technology transfer professionals talk with heads of industry, researchers, university leadership, patent experts, and a host of other professionals. Each group has a different need and investment in the process. A skilled tech transfer person will understand all of the needs and translate them between the groups.

Present and Represent Flawlessly

When you are representing a top-notch university or research organization, you may be the only impression a corporation has of your group. Represent well and they may turn to you again. Come off unprofessionally or too brash, and your university’s ability to work with that company may be hindered. You must be professional in your presentations and master the art of relationship building. You are acting as a broker for your entire academic and research community.

Like the Middle

I write this somewhat facetiously but anyone who has worked in tech transfer will tell you one of the most demanding parts of the role is being in between everything and everyone. You work with the commercialization department at the company and your university’s researchers. You want to secure a good technology transfer agreement for all who are involved but doing so can lead you to feel pinched. Keeping the end goal in mind of bringing the university’s research to the world can help with that but it still must be a position you feel comfortable with.

We only have so much room in a blog. For brevity’s sake I hit the highlights but what have I left out? What makes the difference between a stellar technology transfer professional and one who’s merely adequate? Add your input below:

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