Tech-transfer course is a first

November 1, 2002

The first technology-transfer training programme aimed directly at university staff was launched this week.

Praxis, the UK University Technology Transfer Programme, has been designed by enterprise directors from UK universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is underwritten by the Cambridge-MIT Institute.

Earlier this year, a Bank of England report found that there were more than 1,200 technology-transfer professionals in the UK. But it found a severe lack of resources for training them.

University enterprise directors failed to win backing from the funding council to set up such training through the higher education reach-out to business and the community fund.

David Secher, Cambridge University's director of research services, said:

"There is increasing recognition that successful technology transfer is critical to the process of improving the UK's business performance as well as benefiting society."

The courses will be delivered along the model of the US Association of University Technology Managers, which has been running professional training for members for ten years.

Jeff Skinner, commercial director of University College London and a member of the Praxis Programme Committee, said: "The course is being taught by practitioners who have a wealth of hands-on experience and can use this to pass on their knowledge to junior technology-transfer staff in a very real, down-to-earth way."

The first activity will be a two-and-a-half day course in Bristol later this month, entitled "Introduction to Technology Transfer". The 45 delegates will look at legal issues for intellectual property, negotiating and licensing, evaluating opportunities, marketing and managing the relationship.

Technology-transfer staff from any public-sector laboratory, including the National Health Service, will be invited to participate. Future courses will be opened up to industry staff.

During the first year, Praxis is planning four such courses. It will diversify into other subject areas, according to delegate demand.

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