We academic researchers like to call ourselves “investigators.” We enjoy sleuthing down information trails. And sometimes, through skill and serendipity, our work results in discoveries that have translational and commercial potential. When innovations do occur, the investigator becomes an “inventor,” too.
It’s complicated, of course – which is what spurred me to assemble the Faculty Inventor’s Guide to Technology Transfer. In technical fields like ours, it can be difficult to discern novel findings. And traditionally, researchers aren’t trained to protect or market their work for commercial purposes.
Fortunately, at IU the Research and Technology Corporation (aka “the IURTC”) is staffed with business and legal experts who shoulder the responsibility of identifying novel findings, protecting them, and perhaps commercializing them.
This is the first in a series of posts on in which I’ll highlight key elements of the Inventor’s Guide and the importance of partnering with the IURTC. Below is a snippet of the Guide’s summary.
The purpose of this document is to help faculty inventors partner effectively with the Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC) to advance scientific discoveries from the lab to the market and, ultimately, into products for consumers and treatments for patients.
Partnering with the IURTC to protect, license, and commercialize discoveries and inventions is a practical decision. Traditional funding opportunities for academic research have become increasingly competitive. Therefore, it is critical that IU faculty broaden their vision of research funding sources. While faculty will remain focused on obtaining research funding from federal sources (NIH, DOD, NSF, and so on), it is unlikely that federal support for basic research will remain consistent. Investigators must search for new sources of funding.
Much of the work being conducted by IU faculty has translational potential, and steps should be taken to protect this intellectual property for commercialization opportunities. This document and the IURTC staff are here to help you understand the commercial or research potential of your discoveries, and how you can most effectively deliver those discoveries to those who will put them to use. Ideally, research commercialized through the IURTC should serve as a continued source of capital generation for the ongoing intellectual endeavors of the faculty, department, and University. [Click here for the full, one-page summary.]
Ready for more? You can download the complete Faculty Inventor’s Guide.