Technology transfer indicates the process of transferring the technological knowledge between two organizations. Typical technology transfer services include the licensing of a technology from a research institution to a business partner for further development or to use it as the foundation of new products that can be sold in the market. In addition to licenses, the technology transfer office negotiates other contracts such as material transfer agreements, confidential disclosure agreements, and sponsored research agreements.
While investigators at universities like the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) develop innovative technologies, the majority does not have the know-how needed to develop their idea into a commercial product. An institutional technology transfer office, such as UNeMed, provides specialized services and expertize required to bring new discoveries to market. UNeMed has played a vital role in UNMC’s technology transfer licensing arena since 1991 and has helped acquire patents, licenses, and grants for UNMC researchers. The benefits of technology transfer include forming partnerships between investigators and commercial entities, incoming revenue to the inventors, research institute and commercial partners, and introducing novel products to the market for the benefit of the public.
Benefits of Technology Transfer:
* One of the most important benefits of technology transfer is that the research institution obtains recognition and increased reputation about their research potential and innovation.
* Research that results in successful technology transfer helps promote the research institution and attracts new and fresh talent to join the research community.
* Technology transfer helps researchers establish strong ties with partners in the business and investor communities, as well as build a network of industrial partners.
* Technology transfer helps bring in funds from commercial enterprises through sponsored research agreements.
* Technology transfer forms successful collaborations between researchers in different institutions with the end goal of advancing the knowledge in a particular field or further developing a technology.
* Technology transfer licensing helps regulate the rights granted to a third party in the defined technology with respect to a specified period of time and often limited to a particular field of use and/or region of the world.
* Licenses include terms that require the party licensing the technology to meet some performance requirements and to make financial payments to the research institution.
* Technology transfer allows industry partners reduce the costs incurred during their research and development.
* Lastly, the ultimate beneficiary of technology transfer is the general public, who is able to use the end product.
To identify good innovations for technology transfer, the technology transfer office first evaluates the intellectual property and market potential of newly disclosed inventions. After the evaluation is complete, the appropriate intellectual property is pursued for qualified technologies. Agreements are then negotiated to ensure that the industry partner obtains the rights to develop the technology while the research institution retains ownership of the intellectual property.