Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Ashvin Bashyam, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Many influential technologies, from transistors to magnetic resonance imaging, originated in academic research labs. The successful translation of these technologies from the laboratory and into organizations dedicated to their commercialization was a critical driver of this impact. The process of translating technologies from conceptualization to commercialization is risky, unpredictable, and often capital intensive. These constraints result in significant attrition, which reduces the cumulative impact of academic research to a fraction of its true potential. In this work, we first identify metrics of translational potential, success, and efficiency that differ between academic institutions. Stark differences in many of these measures, such as research expenditure or number of patents filed, are evident. From this, we attempt to elucidate the institutional characteristics, such as the strength of its Technology Licensing Office, that play the most significant role in the successful commercialization of academic technologies. Second, through analysis of these metrics and interviews with members of the technology transfer community, we established criteria that organizations can use to track the success of their efforts to improve their translational pipeline. We hope these criteria will enable policymakers and technology transfer professionals to focus their strategy and objectively measure its outcomes. Finally, we outline proposals that may reduce the attrition rate of technologies and people through the commercialization process, including efficient deployment of research capital, effective technology transfer policy, and increased faculty engagement.