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Great Ideas for Improving Faculty Outreach and Enhancing Researcher-TTO Relations

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Originally presented: February 19, 2009

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Transform your researchers into allies and tech transfer team members

Countless inventions representing millions in potential revenues sit idle simply because many university researchers either aren’t aware of the extent of their university TTO’s expertise and activities, or worse yet they lack faith in the TTO’s ability to move the innovation forward. Still others may fear that getting too involved in commercialization efforts will cut into their research activity, or they may harbor preconceived biases and deep misgivings about setting foot in the business world and “selling out” to corporate “suits” and pencil pushers.

Then there is another category of faculty researchers — those who want to work with the TTO but whose know-how surrounding the research commercialization process, IP protection, and other key aspects of moving innovations from lab to market is elementary at best.

Yet as any experienced tech transfer professional knows, gaining the trust and cooperation of faculty — and educating researchers on key commercialization challenges — is critical to TTO success. It all adds up to one tough but essential truth: Regardless of the barriers, difficulties, and misconceptions, you must develop effective, creative ways of reaching out to and educating your faculty — and turn them into allies and team members in creating start-ups; disclosing, protecting, and marketing their technologies; and finding corporate partners and licensees to bring their research to the marketplace.

It’s a tough job, on top of everything else you have on your plate — BUT IT CAN AND MUST BE DONE. That’s why Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has recruited Guy Diedrich, Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations and Commercialization with The Texas A&M University System, to help you overcome faculty resistance, enhance researcher communication and education, and build critically important, positive relationships with your most important resource — your inventors. Join us for this audioconference program:

Great Ideas for Improving Faculty Outreach and Enhancing Researcher-TTO Relations

You’ll learn how Mr. Diedrich was headhunted from the commercial sector to revitalize Texas A&M’s technology commercialization program. He’ll reveal how he gained the buy-in needed from both administrators and faculty — and how he revived the TTO through intensive public relations efforts, customer service initiatives, and educational outreach programs. This program is brimming solid takeaways that you can implement immediately.

Program agenda:

  • Gauging faculty/researcher perceptions of your TTO
    -Tips on obtaining honest opinions
    – What to do with the results
  • Targeting areas for improvement in faculty service and outreach
    – Customer service standards
    – Reliability and follow-through
    – Assistance with paperwork
    – Providing lab support to free up researchers’ time
    – Creative use of faculty incentives
  • Build strong ties with researchers, faculty and administration
    – Overcoming misconceptions, biases, and trust issues
    – Dynamic public relations strategies
    – Encouraging an entrepreneurial culture on campus
    – Adopting proven faculty outreach and education programs
    – Innovative faculty recognition efforts
    – Mentoring and commercialization assistance programs
  • PLUS: A special focus on dealing with unreasonable researcher demands, “vanity” patents and start-ups, faculty-driven IP leakage, and researchers who won’t live up to their employment agreements
  • And much more!

Your Expert Instructor

Guy Diedrich is the Vice Chancellor for The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) responsible for federal relations, economic development and technology commercialization. The Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) commercializes the most promising intellectual properties resulting from the $620 million dollars of annual research funds awarded to the nine universities, seven agencies and health science center that comprise the Texas A&M System. Prior to joining TAMUS, Mr. Diedrich served for eleven years as President and CEO of GRA Inc., a software development and consulting company that he co-founded and grew from a start-up to a firm employing more than 130 professionals. GRA was acquired in 1998 by a publicly traded technology company. He also served as President of Austin Technology Ventures, a firm that invests in software, hardware and biotechnology companies. Mr. Diedrich serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Life Sciences Center, American Trauma Society, Texas A&M College of Science, Young President’s Organization, Royal Economic Society, and Society of Business Economists. He is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Cambridge where he is researching the economic value of trust in organizations as a member of King’s College.

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