Creating a plan to prepare for COVID19-related changes and succeed in a post- COVID19 environment will require tech transfer offices will need to take both short- and long-term actions.
We sat down with the Office of Research Commercialization at North Carolina State University-- Wade Fulghum, Assistant Vice Chancellor, and Kultaran Chohan, Director of Licensing—to discuss what they’re considering doing in the future to achieve success while staying safe and healthy.
Wade: In the immediate, it’s about keeping your team intact and sane through this process, as going remote has presented a lot of operational, balancing family and work and mental health challenges. The most immediate action for me is how to keep people excited to be part of this and alleviate some of that uncertainty and fear that is the norm today. But in the future, we have to find innovative ways to identify and reach researchers that we think that will make a difference.
Kultaran: We need to identify opportunities that exist, for example protective masks. There have to be things that we can do to have impact. We need to make sure we identify those opportunities and seize them. There are technologies that no one would’ve cared about before—masks, protective coatings, hand sanitizer. Now, all of the sudden, people are willing to listen. We have to think innovative.
In the short term, make sure your team stays intact and focused. Give them flexibility so that they can deal with home environments but can still be productive with work. Engage with PIs and give them the resources they need. A lot of them are grant writing, paper writing and submitting disclosures because they have more time to do writing work as opposed to work in the lab, but how does that create impact down the line?
With provisional applications and patent applications, that’s a year in which we can get data to support speculative filings. We could see impact in terms of affecting our research, new innovations and new startups. We need to build programs around supporting startups.
For more insight on the impact of coronavirus on TTOs, download a free copy of our white paper, Tech Transfer and COVID19: How TTOs Can Adapt And Succeed.