Tech Transfer

Navigating the Evolving Landscape of Tech Transfer: Insights from Industry Veteran Glen Gardner

Building Value In Innovation Ecosystems Conversation Series


 

 

In the latest episode of OneValley's Building Value in Innovation Ecosystems series, host Sabah Baxamoosa sits down with Glen Gardner, founder of Gardner Innovation Search Partners (Gardner ISP), to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities in recruiting top talent for university technology transfer offices.

With over two decades of experience connecting world-class researchers and innovations with industry partners, Gardner shares his wealth of knowledge on what it takes to succeed in this highly specialized field. He highlights the multidisciplinary nature of tech transfer, which requires a convergence of deep scientific expertise, business acumen, and intellectual property savvy.

 

Traversing the Valley of Death in Commercializing University IP

  • The Critical Challenge: Sheds light on the critical challenge of crossing the "valley of death" - the gap between early-stage university research and commercially viable products
  • Enabling Industry Engagement: Emphasizes the importance of industry engagement and strategic partnerships in bridging this divide and bringing groundbreaking innovations to market

Emerging Trends in Tech Transfer: Startups and Convergence

  • Startup-Focused Models: Sees a shift towards more startup-focused tech transfer models, as large corporations become increasingly risk-averse in licensing early-stage technologies
  • Growing Convergence: Anticipates a growing convergence between traditionally siloed university functions, such as sponsored research, industry collaborations, and tech transfer
  • "Innovation Czar" Roles: Predicts the rise of "innovation czar" roles to drive holistic strategies

Skills and Experiences Valued in Tech Transfer

  • Diverse Backgrounds: Encourages clients to think outside the box and consider candidates from diverse backgrounds, such as industry, law firms, and VC firms, who are willing to take pay cuts to enter academic tech transfer
  • Professional Involvement: Advises aspiring tech transfer professionals to join relevant professional associations like AUTM and LES, attend conferences, volunteer, and be active in user groups and on LinkedIn to break into the field
  • Internships and Networking: Emphasizes the importance of gaining experience through internships and building relationships within the collegial higher education community to establish a strong foundation in tech transfer

The Future of Tech Transfer and Concluding Thoughts

Looking ahead, Gardner sees a shift towards more startup-focused tech transfer models, as large corporations become increasingly risk-averse in licensing early-stage technologies. He also anticipates a growing convergence between traditionally siloed university functions, such as sponsored research, industry collaborations, and tech transfer, necessitating the rise of "innovation czar" roles to drive holistic strategies.

Throughout the conversation, Gardner's passion for the tech transfer community shines through. He emphasizes the collegial and mission-driven nature of the field, where professionals are united by a shared commitment to maximizing the societal impact of university research.

For anyone interested in the dynamic world of tech transfer and university-industry collaboration, this episode is a must-listen. Tune in for valuable insights from a seasoned industry leader on navigating the evolving landscape of innovation ecosystems.

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