Taking advice from BigWeld Industries My life is consumed by cartoons. The other morning as I was watching the Robin Williams movie “Robots” with my son, it dawned on me that even cartoons are emphasizing the necessity for technology transfer offices to think outside of the box and change the way they do business. There is an opportunity for TTO’s to be able to offer better assistance to university researchers in obtaining funding for their research activities and it all starts with Big Weld Industries. The traditional techniques of university technology transfer consist of pushing university inventions onto industry in the hopes that we can convince industry that these inventions are in fact what it needs. We perpetuate the process of receiving invention disclosures, assessing the proposed invention to determine if there is a commercial potential and if so, what is this commercial potential.
Once these internal activities are done we undertake the task of finding a company to license the technology. Enter Big Weld. Big Weld is THE industry in the Robots movie. And Big Weld’s slogan: “See a need, fill a need” fits well with the recent re-orientation the federal and provincial governments are giving to university research and development funding. Several NSERC grants have important commercial objectives as the final outcome of the research projects, and some new grants such as the Interact Grant and the Engage Grant are for the direct purpose of bringing faculty and industry at the table to talk about their needs and expectations. All these new changes in the research funding outcome requirements does not leave technology transfer offices unaffected. In fact, TTO’s have the opportunity to become the link to better university understanding of what industry needs and reconcile this with what university faculty are doing in their labs. It seems that it’s time to take some advice from Big Weld and offer more assistance to our university researchers in identifying what industry needs and link them with these industry so that together they can develop the optimal research and development project and go get “the big grants”. Three Oaks Innovations Inc. is presently implementing strategies to enhance UPEI’s faculty-industry interaction. Call us to find out how we can help with your links to industry.