Technology transfer, as defined by Carl Schramm, CEO of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is a process in which “academic researchers patent their work, then license it, often under a royalty agreement, to companies that ultimately bring the innovation to market” (2006).
Schramm claims that there are only five universities that have mastered the cooperative technique of technology transfer: “Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford, MIT, and Wisconsin.” The reason so few universities have mastered this technique, according to Schramm, is due to the fact that the majority of universities are overly protective of their intellectual property rights.
Interestingly, he points to the fact that though John Hopkins University has the “biggest research budget in the United States [no mention as to the source of this budget] . . . [it] fosters very few new ventures.” I wonder at the inclusion of John Hopkins in his discussion of technology transfer; isn’t JH known for its medical prowess rather than its tendency towards technology? Then again, perhaps that’s his point.
Whatever the reason for including JH in his opinion piece, Schramm brings to mind an interesting distinction I’ve noticed while investigating research funding for Doc Martens Competitive Intelligence course: monies committed to technology experimentation appear to be used primarily for applied research; whereas, monies committed to medical experimentation appear to be used primarily for validity testing.
And this is pure speculation on my part, as I currently have no statistical data to back it up, but it seems that the end product of applied research likely results in financial rewards much sooner than the end product of validity testing (hence the lack of fostering “new ventures”). It would also be interesting to determine a profit/loss timeline comparing the two, as well as what does happen to intellectual property rights when businesses and universities team up.