Tech Transfer Central

Commercialization as a Tenure Criterion: A Powerful Incentive for Faculty Inventors

Format: On-Demand Video, DVD, or PDF Transcript
Originally presented: March 19, 2013

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The push for commercialization of university research continues forward. Federal and state governments , economic development agencies and university presidents work hard to enable it. Universities are establishing pitch competitions, accelerators, funding programs, outreach efforts, partnerships, incubators, and mentoring programs. But some progressive universities have gone one step further: including commercialization in their mission statements or even their tenure policies.

While the drumbeat sounds for new models of entrepreneurship and commercialization support, university leadership, entrepreneurial culture and academic traditions of tenure can either promote or prohibit the full potential of university innovations. University leadership helps establish and enable an entrepreneur to thrive. Tenure policies, which reward publishing and teaching incentivize commercialization, are another potential missing link in the innovation ecosystem that so many now agree is critical to economic growth, jobs, and global competitiveness.

These environments and policies — if they are adjusted to take commercial-focused research into account — also represent a tremendous untapped opportunity for universities to unleash a deluge of research with market potential, by simply rewarding the behavior that forms the essential foundation for the dynamic innovation activity the world is clamoring for. But changing the entrenched system is anything but simple.

While most university systems continue to resist formal recognition of commercialization activities when evaluating faculty for tenure, a select few have emerged on the leading edge of this issue. Oklahoma State University and the University of Texas System have both gone down the road of including commercialization within their mission statements or tenure policies. In fact, OSU is currently in the throes of policy change.

That’s why we’ve invited tech transfer leaders from both universities to present this timely program:

Commercialization as a Tenure Criterion:
A Powerful Incentive for Faculty Inventors

Please join Bryan T. Allinson, Executive Director of Technology Commercialization for the University of Texas System – Austin, and Dr. Stephen W. S. McKeever, Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer with Oklahoma State University, for this cutting-edge program. These forward-thinking leaders will present case studies illustrating the key strategies used to gain administration and faculty support, as well as the specifics of their tenure policy changes. Here’s a quick look at the agenda:

  • Laying the foundation for culture change with:
    • Tools for creating an open dialogue with faculty
    • Outlining business terms
    • Evidence to back up commercialization vs societal impact: they can coexist!
  • Strategies for getting buy-in from university policy-makers
  • The benefits of including commercialization as a requirement for tenure consideration
  • Details of policy changes
  • Handling push-back from faculty and/or administration
  • Tactics for obtaining early support from key leadership

Your Team of Presenters:

Bryan T. Allinson, Executive Director of Technology Commercialization for the University of Texas System- Austin, serves as the technology commercialization Principal for the UT System under Barry Burgdorf, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel. He directs access to resources, including capital and shared services, and other important resources necessary for commercialization of technology. He also helps identify critical pathways for thematic partnering through collaborative activities. He organizes UT System reports to state and national commercialization and economic development agencies, including the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) and Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).

Dr. Stephen W. S. McKeever, Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at Oklahoma State University, also serves as Secretary of Science and Technology for the State of Oklahoma. He is also a Regents Professor in the department of physics. He was named a Noble Research Fellow in Optical Materials in 1987, served as head of the department from 1995-99, and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Arts & Sciences from 2000-03. Dr. McKeever was also named the MOST (More Oklahoma Science and Technology) Chair of Experimental Physics in 1999.

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