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University Technology Transfer

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Author(s): Mike Cox

Journal: SCRIPT-ed
ISSN 1744-2567

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 388;
Date: 2004;
Original page

ABSTRACT
This article describes the experiences and general observations of the author at Heriot-Watt University and concerns the transfer of university technology for the purposes of commercialisation. Full commercial exploitation of a university invention generally requires transferring that technology into the industrial arena, usually either by formation of a new company or licensing into an existing company. Commercialisation activities need to be carried out in unison with the prime activities of the university of research and teaching. Responsibility for commercialising university inventions generally rests with a specific group within the university, typically referred to as the technology transfer group. Each technology transfer should be considered individually and appropriate arrangements made for that particular invention. In general, this transfer process involves four stages: identification, evaluation, protection and exploitation. Considerations under these general headings are outlined from a university viewpoint. A phased approach is generally preferred where possible for the evaluation, protection and exploitation of an invention to balance risk with potential reward. Evaluation of the potential opportunity for a university invention involves essentially the same considerations as for an industrial invention. However, there are a range of commercial exploitation routes and potential deals so that only general guidelines can be given. Naturally, the final deal achieved is that which can be negotiated. The potential rewards for the university and inventor are both financial (via licensing income and equity realisation) and non-financial.
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