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Tech transfer: it’s a people thing

Intermediaries can help academics and businesses to transfer university research into commercial products. Tim Cook, who helped Isis Innovation to grow and is a member of Oxford Brookes University’s commercialisation panel, explains.

Technology transfer is a cross-cultural activity: there are significant differences between the values and priorities of businesses and of academic research.

In a business there must be a coordinated plan, driven by external needs. There are specific deliverables, which the management has undertaken to provide to the shareholders. Each member of the company will have clear, delegated responsibilities, which must be carried out for the firm to succeed. And the essential information will be confidential, as companies don’t want competitors to know their secrets.

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