Technology Transfer

Purdue Faculty Help Each Other Learn Steps of Tech Transfer

To help innovators at Purdue University convert their technology ideas into commercial endeavors, the university is running a mentoring program where faculty help other faculty. Deliberate Innovation for Faculty (DIFF) is a team of faculty members who have already had success in moving an invention into commercialization.

The seven DIFF mentors come from all over the institution — the college of technology; the school of management; the schools of biomedical engineering, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering; the college of engineering; and the Homeland Security Institute. Help may include guiding research proposals or collaborations from the beginning of new projects, providing early stage discovery or startup direction and proposing funding sources, market research and business planning.

"This program not only allows faculty to help other faculty, but the experiences they gain from moving an innovation to commercialization also can enrich Purdue's academic goals," said Gary Bertoline, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

As Cliff Wojtalewicz, managing director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Purdue's interdisciplinary research operation, Discovery Park, explained, "As a land-grant institution Purdue has an obligation to explore new areas of tech transfer opportunities and to identify innovations with strong commercialization potential. This is something we take very seriously and [DIFF] helps us do that."

The impact has been noticeable. Technology transfer is on a roll. In the last year the Office of Technology Commercialization saw a 30 percent increase in the number of patents issued as part of its commercialization activities. Likewise, 24 startups took form in 2014, tripling the previous year's numbers.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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