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Tips on gap funding for tech transfer offices

In her recent blog post for innovation commercialization consulting company Fuentek, vice president Rebecca Stoughton offers these insights on gap funding for tech transfer.

  1. Gap funding enhances relationships with researchers and industry. Gap funding doesn’t just help advance a technology toward commercialization — it helps build relationships among inventors, TTOs, and companies. For one, the availability of gap funding increases the frequency of researchers engaging with their tech transfer offices. It also catches the attention of commercial partners. “Therefore,” Stoughton tells TTOs, “publicize the program beyond the walls of your institution.”
  2. Be strategic in awarding funds. In establishing criteria for gap fund awards, specify how the funds can be spent and set clear milestones to be reached. TTOs should also use the results produced from early-stage funding to determine continued support. “For example,” says Stoughton, “if the proof-of-concept phase involved a relatively small slug of money, and if that project is successful… the project [would be] eligible for the next round.”
  3. Seek variety in your funding sources. Most notably, don’t rely solely on government funding and the red tape it often comes with. Instead, look for funding from various sources, such as foundations and research institutions — even your own.
  4. Track the successes (and failures). “Most funders want to be kept informed of the impact of their allocation, often with specific outcomes of interest,” writes Stoughton. Try to tailor your data gathering so that your results will address your stakeholders concerns. State governments, for example, are concerned with economic development and job formation. At the same time, make sure you track what is valuable for your TTO to know.

“Don’t despair if your TTO does not have a copious amount of funding for translational research,” Stoughton concludes, pointing to smaller states like New Hampshire and Vermont. “Their success proves that a small amount of money can go a long way to getting technologies through the gap.”

Source: Fuentek

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