Maithili Shroff – Licensing Associate (Life Sciences) at UNHInnovation, University of New Hampshire
Prior to joining (and during) the LifeArc-AUTM fellowship, I was a PhD candidate at the MRC PPU unit, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, UK. Before my PhD, I had numerous different experiences in the Life Sciences field, working in academic environments as well as in industry: I have worked in a pharmaceutical company, a private laboratory, and a government hospital.
This programme was advertised by the Research and Innovation office at the University of Dundee. I also knew colleagues from the university who were successful in securing the fellowship in the previous cohort and the programme came highly recommended.
Theoretical and practical training
I expected to gain a better understanding of the technology transfer profession – both theoretical, through the training programme, and practical through interacting with my peers and other professionals within the field. The experience more than exceeded my expectations – so much so that it enabled me to make a career transition and land a job in a technology transfer office in the US! It is a fantastic and well-structured programme, even for an outsider to the tech transfer profession such as me.
The programme offered an opportunity to get some foundational understanding of the technology transfer profession through pre-recorded videos that were easy to integrate with work schedules. All the interactions with my mentor were also flexible and could be arranged to fit my schedule. For the value that this opportunity brings, it was not too difficult to devote 3+4 days in the entire year for in-person events (which were 100% the most valuable part of the fellowship).
As an outsider to the technology transfer profession, the course was really helpful in getting an understanding of all things tech transfer.
It provided a solid foundation of the fundamentals, with plenty of opportunities for acquiring specific specialist knowledge during the AUTM annual meeting. The Annual meeting in Austin was the highlight of the fellowship for me. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with the tech transfer community and learn the tricks of the trade from the professionals. I also met my current boss at the annual meeting, so that was a definite plus!
Transitioning from bench to business
Before I started the fellowship, I was looking to transition out of the lab and tech transfer sounded like a good fit. All my experiences during the fellowship cemented that idea, and I knew that this is what I wanted to do. The fellowship gave me the opportunity to test the water before I took the leap and provided the perfect springboard to leap!
The mentors at AUTM and LifeArc offered helpful advice and guidance throughout the fellowship in terms of career prospects as well as different opportunities available within the industry.
After completing the programme, I did a short internship in the Research and Innovation Services office at the University of Dundee while I was completing a short post-doctoral tenure. I then moved to the US to take up the position of a Licensing Associate at UNHInnovation. Since my time here, I have acquired the candidate RTTP credential. All the theoretical knowledge gained during the fellowship has been put to practical use – from patenting to marketing and evaluations to negotiations. I have also helped co-ordinate programmes such as I-Corps and our Industry Days. I am continuing to engage in training courses and other activities to continue my professional development.
Making a career transition away from the bench can be really daunting and scary, it was for me too. But for those that are seriously considering it, this opportunity is not to be missed. If I have managed to do it despite many unfavourable circumstances, you can do it too! And if that is not enough, there is a certain recognition that comes with being a LifeArc-AUTM fellow, and one that really makes you stand out in tech transfer community.
I would like to thank everyone at AUTM and LifeArc for this life-changing opportunity. I am especially grateful to Anji Miller for her continued support above and beyond the duration of the fellowship. Thank you to the mentors who have taken valuable time out of their busy schedules and have helped and supported me and the other fellows. And to the fellows, past and present, for being an awesome and inspiring group of individuals who have excelled in their professional careers through this opportunity.
And last but by no means the least, I’m grateful to Marc Sedam for giving me this opportunity to truly embrace the TTO and become a part of the wonderful team at UNHInnovation. I could not have asked for a better start!
Connect with Maithili on LinkedIn