by Tom Withnell, Technology Transfer Manager, University of Vienna
Technology transfer is an exciting and growing field, but there is naturally a great variety in maturity of operations, both between countries and individual institutions. ASTP-Proton is a great source of inspiration, and members frequently showcase their success stories, for example with the benefits of income from a lucrative deal or introduction of new operational advances. These successes are a great source of both advertisement and aspiration for those of us in the field.
However, many of these success stories come from already large, well-established offices or countries. There are many countries and institutions where technology transfer is not fully supported. This often goes in parallel with a small office, pushing its resources just to complete the basic tasks and be noticed. For these offices, a very reactive approach is required; there are minimal available resources to allow for a proactive approach. In addition, it can be difficult to obtain sufficient support to make the changes, not to mention the suggestion of change being met with a “you should focus on the day-to-day job” attitude. The willingness to evolve is there but not the means!
Based on these issues is the idea to start a new ASTP-Proton community aimed at “Micro-TTOs”. This community will be open to everyone, but will act as a support base for the smaller offices. Within this group, members can share knowledge and experience (both good and bad!) of utilizing new initiatives, tips for reducing workload, finding optimal ways to conduct prior art and market searches, getting noticed and better supported by the host institution and many others. The aim is to be able to push the already limited resources further.
The target audience for a “Micro-TTO” in this case is an office with 5 employees or fewer, (i.e. those in the “Entrepreneurial state” of development); the challenges of a small team are obviously very different to a one-person office but they should still have a desire to grow!
Interested in joining this group? Please show your interest by sending a short email to the ASTP-Proton headquarters: email@example.com. We are aiming to set up a first conference call before the end of April.