Tech Transfer University Reporter

Writing Technology Summaries to Pique the Potential Partner’s Interest

By David Schwartz
Published: November 19th, 2013

If you’re a member of a technology transfer office licensing team and you have written an initial summary about a technology, in many cases the reader will be someone from the business development or the scouting team in industry.  It’s imperative that you gear your message to them. Consider that your audience (the target person at that company) is probably reviewing many different technology pitches from many different universities. Your summary should be short, succinct, and tick the right boxes on their technology match-making list.

It is not enough to sell the science

Selling science alone will not work. Rather, you want to be selling the solution to a problem using the science as the foundation.  A lot of technology summaries make the mistake of being very “academic-y”; of focusing on the science and how the science is innovative, and how it’s a groundbreaking mechanism, etc. etc.– and not really paying enough detail to what solution the technology can bring. 

Focus on solution-based writing

The technology summary is there to introduce, portray and package the technology as a solution to a problem that the company will be interested in, and a solution that will make the company money. You must avoid the easy temptation of cutting and pasting from a professor’s publication or from a patent application. Following the advice from the team of panelists who presented the webinar: Marketing Writing Workshop for Tech Transfer Professionals will help you to write a solution-based technology summary:



  • Selling solutions to problems is more critical than selling the technology
  • Technology summaries are NOT scientific abstracts


  • Keep the title brief and catchy
  • Write for a broad audience
  • Start with the problem and/or commercial opportunity then describe your technology and how it addresses the problem
  • Include quantitative information about a market or industry
  • Be aware of your university’s style preferences
  • Follow up with more detailed information


  • Assume your readers are experts in the field
  • Use statistics that date the technology
  • Cut & paste from the disclosure or patent application

Additionally, with text-heavy documents it’s especially important to make the layout as engaging and user-friendly as possible.  Make it as easy as possible for readers to jump to the specific content they’re interested in. 

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Technology Transfer Tactics would like to thank for their valuable insight and compilation of data:

Margy Elliott, MPH, Marketing & Communications Manager for Columbia Technology Ventures, manages CTV’s branding, events, Fellows Program, web, and social media presence.

Nicole Nair, Senior Marketing Coordinator for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office of Technology Management.

Nadim Shohdy, PhD, Business Venture Analyst for New York University Office of Industrial Liaison.

Margy, Nicole and Nadim provide more in-depth advice as well as marketing writing best practices in the recorded distance learning program, Marketing Writing Workshop for Tech Transfer Professionals, which is available on DVD, On-Demand Video and PDF Transcript. 

Visit for more information on how to hasten and streamline the commercialization process, as well as maximize the financial benefits of that process for your organization.

Posted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

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