In collaboration with UCL Business, Imperial College London and Queen Mary Innovation, LifeArc launched the LifeArc Technology Transfer Fellowship in May 2019.
The aim of the fellowship is to help aspiring technology transfer professionals to build their skill set and networks by exposing them to four of London’s leading technology transfer offices (TTOs) thus boosting their prospects of a career in technology transfer.
What expertise is required for technology transfer?
Launching a career in technology transfer can be challenging. New entrants to the profession require a solid background in research as well as good business acumen. Successful technology transfer professionals must draw on their academic expertise to grasp scientific concepts quickly and, using strong communication skills, they must be able to explain these concepts in a clear and concise manner.
A working understanding of patent law, an ability to negotiate commercial agreements and stakeholder influencing skills are also required. Individuals applying to entry level roles would benefit from demonstrating aptitude or interest in these areas. Knowledge and skills can be developed by working in a commercial environment, but academic researchers are unlikely to have exposure the business aspects of the role. It can therefore be particularly difficult for researchers from academia to break into the sector.
How do scientists gain skills in technology transfer?
Tom Hockaday, author of ‘University Technology Transfer: What It Is and How To Do It’ and Managing Director of Oxford University Innovation from 2006 to 2016, commented: “This is a truly excellent opportunity and well done to LifeArc for bringing it together. There are very few similar opportunities available to get such a detailed insight into the workings of technology transfer offices, the challenges, the opportunities to support researchers and to see the brilliance of scientific research results having an impact in society. The roles into which alumni have moved, clearly demonstrate how the Fellowship develops skillsets that the participants will benefit from as their careers progress.”
Two years after the launch of the Fellowship, the first cohort of Fellows describe how the Fellowship helped them to transition into the sector. Find out about their experiences and recommendations below.