APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) created the Technology Transfer Evolution Working Group to identify ways in which the practice of university technology transfer is changing, and must continue to change, to sustain and increase university responsiveness to the needs of stakeholders, and more broadly to challenges in society and the economy.
To guide conversations and recommendations, the Working Group established the following vision for the evolution of technology transfer:
University leaders are increasingly responding to the needs of the innovation economy—and in particular their local economies—by including innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic engagement programming in their strategic planning processes. As part of this response, university technology transfer offices are evolving, and must continue to evolve, toward participation in a broader scope of efforts—with patents and licensing as one emphasis, and also connecting with and engaging in other e orts that support the learning and discovery missions of the university. In evolving toward broader participation in university economic engagement, technology transfer offices will develop deeper relationships with industry and other community partners; broaden their reach to areas such as education, technology development, and entrepreneurship; and integrate more closely with other supportive administrative functions such as industry contracting. While budget and resource threats to the university research enterprise are creating increased pressure to generate revenue from licensing and innovation activities, university leaders must recognize that successful economic engagement will not be focused on short-term income, but rather on longer-term work on relationship development and ecosystem building.
The Working Group also identified five focus areas for defining and advancing the evolution of technology transfer toward economic engagement leadership. The five focus areas are: 1) engaging the local and regional ecosystem, 2) redefining expectations of technology transfer offices, 3) adapting innovation management structures, 4) fostering an entrepreneurial culture, and 5) supporting university start-ups.
Working Group Members
Briefs and Report