Tech Transfer Central

University Researchers: Tap Into Your Inner CEO

Format: On-Demand Audio/Transcript, or DVD
Originally presented: May 20, 2010

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Price: $197
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“A GREAT opportunity for faculty outreach and education!

You can strategize and plan all you want, but when it comes to commercialization of university research, without the science and the faculty innovators behind it, you have nothing.

Extracting that science from the labs and getting disclosures is hard enough, but to actually get your researchers to work cooperatively in licensing their technologies and starting up companies is an even tougher challenge – one that involves overcoming cultural barriers, as well as often-gaping knowledge gaps. In short, faculty outreach and education is critical to the success of your tech transfer efforts.

That’s why Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Divisionhas recruited John Morris, Executive Director with the Center for Entrepreneurial Growth, to present this exciting 90-minute program.  Mr. Morris will provide you and your faculty with the tools, strategies, insights, and know-how needed to overcome resistance, unfounded fears, cultural barriers, and gaps in business understanding. Enroll today – and invite your team of faculty innovators — to learn:

  • Character traits and self-assessment tools
    • Desire or passion for narrowing research to a product to go to the marketplace
    • Take this short quiz to gauge your CEO potential
    • Overcoming the business-academia culture clash
    • Willingness to work with a team (give some to get some)
    • Maintaining realistic expectations
    • Balancing research with business responsibilities
  • License or start-up venture? How to choose the right path for you
    • Hint: It’s the people not the product that drives the decision
    • Factors to consider in the start-up versus license equation
    • Talk to potential customers, large or small
    • Understand the market – find where innovation happens
    • Why start-ups surrounding great technology can still fail – and how to avoid it
  • Available resources and how to utilize them
    • Incubators
    • University and regional coaching and mentoring programs
    • Local, regional and state investor groups
    • University-related investment firms
    • SBIR
    • State small business development centers
    • Tech transfer office
  • How faculty can assist with licensing and start-up activity
    • Deep involvement
    • Moderate involvement
    • Marketing assistance
    • Funding assistance
    • Licensing assistance
  • What your commercialization office can do for you
    • Making the best use of tech transfer services and support
    • Understanding the TTO’s role and responsibilities
      • When licensing
      • When creating a start-up company
      • Understanding the Bayh-Dole Act
  • Overview of legal issues that can-and will-arise
    • Legal structure
    • Conflict of interest
      • Ownership:
      • Define what you want to get out of the business venture
      • Equity/Dilution
      • Royalties
      • Up-fronts
      • University or government lab equity role
      • Balancing risk and reward


John Morris – Executive Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Growth
Mr. Morris is the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Growth, an entrepreneurial support organization of Technology 2020 (University of Tennessee) focused on the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Tennessee Valley Corridor. He has worked with technology businesses for 25 years. Holding degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mr. Morris has been instrumental in forming five technology commercialization ventures, utilizing technology from five different disciplines. He began his career in engineering design with Tennessee Valley Authority at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. He then moved to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and worked in artificial intelligence and expert systems research. Mr. Morris’s first small business experience was with Consultec Scientific, Inc., a Knoxville-based startup focused on technology transfer and commercialization. Eventually becoming President and CEO, he led the effort to start three companies from Consultec. One of the companies, NetLearning, Inc., is an Internet-based e-Learning company focused on the healthcare market. Under his leadership as President and CEO, NetLearning grew from an idea to serving 500 hospitals nationwide in seven years. Thomson Corporation acquired it in 2004. Mr. Morris also served as President and CEO of Sunlight Direct, an alternative energy start-up with licensed technology from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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