New Trends in Technology Transfer Focus on Forming International Collaborations to Accelerate Innovation to Market

Written By: Katherine Rubino

TTOs and Advancement

Technology transfer offices (TTOs) found at universities, hospitals, and research institutions often bridge the divide between the market and innovators working on cutting edge technological advancements. In the past twenty-five years, there have been over 380,000 inventions disclosed and 80,000 U.S. patents issued to research institutions¹.

Despite these monumental successes, TTOs face numerous challenges. Curating a marketable patent portfolio on a limited budget can be difficult, particularly when technological advancements and research may take years to come to market. In recent years, TTOs have faced other challenges accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person conferences and events where technology can be showcased to potential licenses and collaborators have been placed on hold or turned to virtual channels.

TenU and the Future of TTOs

However, a new, international collaboration seeks to find strength in numbers to accelerate technology to market on a global scale². TenU is a recently formed collaboration among ten TTOs with an aim to leverage knowledge and resources to ultimately increase societal impact of research³.

TenU’s members include TTOs from Cambridge (UK), Columbia (USA), Edinburgh (UK), Imperial College of London (UK), Leuven (Belgium), Manchester (UK), MIT (USA), Stanford (USA), Oxford (UK), and University College London (UK).

The first policy-based issue TenU seeks to address is metrics used to assess the success and commercialization efforts of TTOs. For example, the success of TTOs is frequently measured by the number of patents issued by a TTO each year. However, this one metric can vary significantly from year to year, particularly as it can be difficult and challenging to predict the exact time frame when a patent may issue. In addition, this one metric when examined in isolation, frequently doesn’t tell the entire story of a TTO. Other useful metrics under consideration include the number of licensing deals, the number of start-ups formed, the number of jobs created etc.

TenU also seeks to aid universities and research institutions in fostering cultures of innovation that seek to advance economic and social value from knowledge. Such transformation would encourage and support start-ups to create global hubs of innovation on both sides of the Atlantic.


To learn more about TTOs and ways to successfully harvest inventions, curate monetizable patent portfolios, and accelerate successful start-ups, please consider joining us for a lively discussion on these topics and much more.

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