Tech Transfer University Reporter

Cost-Effectively Report Your TTO’s Economic Development Impact

By Debi Melillo
Published: July 21st, 2014

As universities continue to modernize their economic development efforts, they are refining their initiatives to include:

  • Performing research aimed at solving real-world problems of regional or commercial interest
  • Giving students valuable knowledge, marketable skills, and entrepreneurship training
  • Creating new ventures and transferring technologies to in-state companies for job creation and economic growth

So how do you gauge the impact of these efforts? And more importantly, how do you do it cost-effectively?

Technology Transfer Tactics recently sponsored a webinar on this topic led by Chester Bisbee, PhD, JD, David Conrad, PhD, and Lisa Lorenzen, PhD. In the program, Benchmarks and Metrics for Gauging Your TTO’s Economic Development Impact, these experts offered a plethora of sound advice and best practices, and I have included below just a few time- and cost-saving tips they shared. To purchase the entire recorded session on DVD, on-demand video, or print transcript, click here.

Bootstrap Your Data Gathering and Reporting Efforts by Using:

  • Part-time (but experienced) personnel
  • Interns to aggregate data
  • Outside consultants

Leverage All of Your Resources:

  • Internal resources — development office, public relations, alumni office
  • Local, regional, state, federal resources — both private and public

Gathering and Reporting All That Data

  • One of the challenges when trying to come up with an annual report for economic development activities is that the data is scattered across a lot of different organizations. From the research park, to the tech transfer office, to the incubator, sponsored programs and beyond. Moreover, it’s sometimes on different spreadsheets, so implementing one centralized system is key. 

    When you go about building a system, it’s important for you to think about what questions not only you’re being asked by people government or economic development agencies now, but what future questions they’re going to come up with. Because if you don’t build a database correctly with the right structure, you won’t be able to instantly slice and dice the data in a way that will answer a particular question. 

  • Talk to each user and try to anticipate what they will ask in the future — such as how many of your start-ups raised more than $1 million in venture capital, or how many employees at the start-ups live outside the county or state that the university’s located in. 
  • Use prepopulated web forms that allow companies and organizations to change what’s incorrect or update what’s changed from the last time you did a survey. They’re better at getting the data correct, and it takes a lot of the burden off you. 
  • Find a way to incentivize and reward people who contribute data to the survey or to the data gathering and reporting initiative. The University of Iowa uses Qualtrics, which they have a site license for.  It’s an automated system to collect responses and send automated e-mail reminders. 

Presenting All That Data:

While your vice president may prefer the dashboard with graphs and numbers, the state legislature typically wants to hear a story of some nice successes. You must be able to report your successes using a format and method that speaks to your audience directly.

Thank you to our expert program leaders for providing an outstanding session! To see all our distance learning programs and other valuable resources for tech transfer professionals, click here.

Upcoming webinars:

Visit for more unique, practical, and advanced strategies, case studies, best practices, and expert guidance on a broad range of challenges and opportunities for technology transfer offices and professionals.

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

Aligning Start-Up Equity Negotiations with University Objectives

By Debi Melillo
Published: June 9th, 2014

When your TTO commercializes a technology through an early-stage company, there are a number of different ways — and a lot of complexities — to the way that you structure both economic and management rights.  Whether you choose an equity stake or an ownership stake in the company, these terms … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

The Three Pillars of Invention Analysis

By Debi Melillo
Published: May 20th, 2014

There are three main elements to making an invention a commercially viable project, and that invention needs to be strong in all three of these in order to succeed.  First, the technology has to be developable and have limited hurdles to development in terms of time, money, and regulation. Second, … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

Get a Bigger Bang for Your Social Media Efforts

By Debi Melillo
Published: April 28th, 2014

It’s safe to say that the majority of tech transfer offices have started using social media with at least one platform. But you may not be familiar with all the different platforms available and the utility that they provide — and it may be hard to decide how much time … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

Answers to Your SBIR/STTR Funding Questions

By Debi Melillo
Published: April 15th, 2014

A few weeks ago, we hosted a hugely popular webinar titled: Dispelling SBIR/STTR Funding Myths and Misconceptions for University-Based Innovations that was led by Geoffrey White, PhD, President of Discovery Consulting, LLC. The program is filled to the brim with excellent information and factoids about each program and garnered high … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

Best Practices for Fostering University Hyper-Local Innovation Ecosystems

By Debi Melillo
Published: March 31st, 2014

A University Hyper-Local Innovation Ecosystem (Hy-LIE) is defined as a cluster of R&D-oriented entities readily accessible to the campus – including small & large corporations, technology veterans, entrepreneurs and early stage investors as well as related supply chains and service providers. This notion was born several years ago at UC … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

Avoid Litigation When Patent Trolls Come Knocking

By Debi Melillo
Published: March 13th, 2014

Trolls, NPEs, patent assertion entities; they go by many different names, and these entities have received a lot of interest of late.  Did you know that 60% of all patent cases now involved such entities?  In 2012 there were 4,700 patent suits, and over 2,400 of those cases were filed … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

Pre-launch Considerations for University Innovations

By Debi Melillo
Published: March 3rd, 2014

Arguably, one of the most challenging issues for technology transfer professionals is choosing which technologies to move through the pipeline and whether to license out or create a start up around the innovation. In fact, each decision your team makes can run the risk of degrading relationships with researchers (when … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

How to Double your Faculty’s Invention Disclosure Rate

By Debi Melillo
Published: February 17th, 2014

I hope everyone came through last week’s weather unscathed. Here in the Northeast, we had over a foot dumped on us in some areas. The kids loved yet another snow day… us parents, not so much! Fortunately, I’ll be getting far away from the white stuff and heading to the … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

Unleash the power of a finely tuned intern program

By David Schwartz
Published: February 3rd, 2014

If you’re like most TTOs, increasing demands for results, yet no increase in staff, means you could face rising backlogs of invention disclosures, slower response times, missed revenue opportunities, and disgruntled faculty.  But there is a proven way to bring on aggressive and talented help without busting your budget — … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

University TTOs and licensing professionals beware: A “non-binding” term sheet can be anything but…

By David Schwartz
Published: January 21st, 2014

If you haven’t paid much attention to the Delaware Supreme Court  decision in SIGA Technologies v. PharmAthene, Inc., No. 314, 2012 2013 Del. LEXIS 265, 1-2 (Del. May 24, 2013), it’s time to get familiar with the frightening case – BEFORE you sign your next term sheet. Here’s the background story: … continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

You CAN cut your patent budget without cutting the quality of prosecution or reducing the number of patents filed …

By David Schwartz
Published: January 6th, 2014

Patent prosecution costs are at the very top of every TTO’s expense list – and that means your office has a big opportunity to reduce costs and make a major budget impact in 2014. But before you go and reduce the number of patent applications your office files, read below … continue reading »

→ 1 CommentPosted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter