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Three metrics your TTO probably doesn’t track but should

According to Laura Schoppe, founder and president of Fuentek, LLC, university tech transfer offices should be measuring several areas that most have only scratched the surface of. Yet she contends that these metrics are of greater importance than the common focus on start-ups. Specifically, Schoppe points to three major metrics TTOs should focus on that “will have a much bigger impact on the local economy than most start-ups because they lead to hiring more staff that are high-salary jobs.”

1. Quality of the university’s brand/reputation among federal agencies. You won’t receive federal grants until you are recognized as a viable entity by federal agencies. To accomplish this, TTOs should seek funding from agencies that are most relevant to their university’s research. To find out if an agency is relevant, TTOs can speak to its contracting officer’s technical representative (COTR) to learn what the agency is looking for in grant proposals. Also, faculty researchers should be educated on how to improve the tech transfer sections of their proposals; the more compelling they are, the more federal agencies will be interested.

2. Level of access to and credibility with industry. In the same vein, companies tend to work with universities they find viable or are familiar dealing with. TTOs should identify companies that complement their university’s areas of research, Schoppe says, and then contact these companies to learn about their needs, connect them to the right researchers, and show them that you are willing and able to help them explore other ways in which they could work with you. And if that includes licensing IP, make sure the terms are user friendly.

3. Improve faculty/researcher recruitment. Many young professors, researchers and grad students are aware of the importance of tech transfer, and if they see a university’s TTO has a top notch staff, they will be more drawn to that university. Make sure your office has good processes in place for evaluating and managing inventions from current faculty — almost like quality control. Be accessible to potential new faculty during recruitment to learn what they are working on and show them your level of interest in them. TTOs should also make their websites easy for candidates to see what each office does and how they go about doing it, including success stories.

“Obviously the TTO isn’t responsible for 100% of the value brought by the faculty members in these cases,” says Schoppe, “but the TTO did help secure them and get these new inventions and research funding into your state and not somewhere else.”

Source: Fuentek

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