Careers in Technology Transfer
What is technology transfer?
Technology transfer refers to the transfer of technology developed or initially
discovered in the public sector (e.g. universities, government agencies)
to private industry for further development and commercialization. Jobs
in technology transfer may be found on either end of this transfer, i.e.
in the institutions seeking to bring their technology to market or in the
companies that will develop the technology. In addition, jobs are also found
in go-between organizations such as non-profit technology transfer centers
that facilitate the transfer of technology from public sector to private.
To learn more about technology transfer and the sorts of careers in this
area, visit the web sites of some organizations involved in tech transfer
- How to get started on a career in
- If you currently work at a university, government lab, or private research
institute, go talk to the people in your institution's technology transfer
office. Ask about their careers and opportunities in your area, including
- Some universities or organization also offer degree programs or give
fellowships in the tech transfer area. Several of these are listed below.
Some degree programs may not be appropriate for someone who already has
NIH Office of Technology
Transfer. "Each year, hundreds of new inventions are made in Public
Health Service (PHS) laboratories. The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT)
endeavors to transfer these inventions through licensing to the private
sector for development that will benefit the public health." Of particular
interest to scientists contemplating a move to the transfer field is a listing
of the staff at OTT
and their career histories. Of 43 listed staff at OTT, six have Ph.D.s,
in fields that include Chemical Physics, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Developmental
Biotechnology Information Institute.
Publisher of the Federal
Bio-Technology Transfer Directory, a database of biomedical, biotechnology
and pharmaceutical technology transfer opportunities. Also has lots of links
for those with a particular interest in biomedical tech transfer.
National Technology Transfer
Center. The NTTC is a NASA-sponsored technology commercialization center
located in West Virginia. "NTTC's task is to take technologies off
laboratory shelves and put them to work in U.S. businesses and industries."
Center of Technology Commercialization.
Massassachusetts-based non-profit company, one of six non-profit, regional
technology transfer centers (RTTC) that act as gateways for transfer of
federal technology to private industry. The RTTCs help private industry
locate and acquire technologies developed in federal laboratories, particularly
NASA. The mission of the RTTCs is to provide "a nationwide network
devoted to the common mission of assisting American industry to improve
worldwide competitiveness." Other RTTCs include the Mid-Atlantic
Technology Applications Center, the Far
West Regional Technology Transfer Center, the Mid-Continent
Technology Transfer Center, the Southern
Technology Applications Center, and the Great
Lakes Industrial Technology Center. As an example of what sort of work
the RTTCs do, read this success
story about an inventer who teamed up with an RTTC and NASA to bring
his invention to market.
U.S. Department of Defense
TechTRANSIT. Lots of tech transfer links can be found at this site.
describes her career in technology licensing at a university technology
transfer office in this feature from Science magazine's NextWave
site. (Note: you need a password to get into this site, but registration
Washington Research Foundation.
An example of a local, private tech transfer organization. "The mission
of the Washington Research Foundation is to maximize the economic and community
benefits of technologies resulting from research at Washington state institutions,
especially by starting companies and investing earnings in further research,
education, and local enterprise."
Washington Technology Center.
Another tech transfer center focusing on Washington State."The WTC
works with Washington state companies and academic researchers to fund and
facilitate market-driven, high technology focused, industry-university R&D
partnerships to create economic development opportunities and enhance technology
Fellowships and Degree Programs:
Technology Transfer Fellowship Program. Sponsored by the National
Cancer Institute, these fellowships are open to individuals who hold
advanced degrees in a number of fields, including science, medicine, law,
and communications. Applicants need have no background in technology transfer
but should have an interest in the application of tech transfer to cancer
research and treatment. Fellowships are for 1-2 years with possible renewal
for up to 5 years.
degree in Innovation and Technology. Offered by Wheeling
Jesuit University, home of the National
Technology Transfer Center.
Technology Apprenticeship Program. Graduate and undergraduate students
from historically black universities and minority institutions are placed
in year-long apprenticeships at participating institutions (e.g. Naval Undersea
warfare Center, National Cancer Institute, Stennis Space Center, Lockheed
Martin Energy Research Corporation) to develop careers in technology management,
manufacturing assistance and industrial research.
This page was last updated on November 1, 1997.
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