Fumbling Away The Future
Recently I visited a Congressional office with a friend who led technology transfer at a public institution located in a mid-level city not normally associated with innovation. By skillfully using the authorities of Bayh-Dole and the patent system combined with good business judgment the program was very successful in start up formation and licensing, making it a driver of the regional economy. The Congressional staff were effusive in their praise of the results, which are well known in the state, vowing to do everything they could to support continued success. However, just before the meeting my friend confided that their new leadership made it clear that they did not consider technology transfer a profession requiring special skills and experience. The staff that labored so long and hard building the program got the hint and was leaving. Luckily their achievement is recognized by other institutions that are happy to snap them up. Unfortunately, the economy of the area they left behind will pay a high price for this boneheaded mistake.