|The annual AUTM (Association of University Technology Managers) conference has wrapped up for another year following 4 days of intensive seminars, workshops and networking events. Sunny San Antonio provided a welcome break from the Brisbane’s inclement weather of late February as well as being friendly and hassle free host city with no shortage of vibrant cafes, restaurants and bars along its famous river walk (see picture on right).The conference provided an excellent opportunity to network with our peers, predominantly US based, in the technology transfer profession and to hear about both successful and unsuccessful models that have been employed outside of Australia. Kate and I met a vast range of tech transfer industry professionals from Managing Directors of offices that had 50+ employees down to newly formed tech transfer offices with only a handful of employees. Despite the great differences in organisational structure, the many challenges in transferring innovation from academia to industry were consistent to nearly all.
Beyond the general models of technology transfer, there were quite a number of focused interactive sessions encouraging attendees to share their successes and failures on topical issues such as; developing mobile device applications, plant biotech and physical sciences. There was a general tendency for tech transfer offices in the US to seek patent protection and spin-out companies at a much earlier stage than that typically seen at Australian tech transfer offices. This could be in part attributed to generous patenting budget allocations, a greater appetite for risk within many US universities and also greater access to sources of early stage seed and venture capital. Never-the-less with the U.S. economy beginning to show signs of recovery there was an air of optimism that the market’s appetite for taking on risk in early stage new technologies may again be on the up following a slow couple of years.
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Anthony Musumeci – Commercial Manger
bluebox Intellectual Property and Business Intelligence Officer, Kate Martinac, and I (Anthony Musumeci, Commercialisation Manger) will be attending the upcoming Association of University Technology Mangers (AUTM) conference in San Antonio, Texas in late February. The four day international conference is devoted to supporting the global academic technology transfer profession through education, training and communication and involves universities, colleges, private enterprise and governments from around the world.
AUTM offers an opportunity to attend quality educational sections – 59 to be exact! Sessions will cover topics from evaluation, patenting, marketing and managing a startup company to name a few. In addition, companies such as AstraZeneca, Sigma Aldrich, Shell Oil and Syngenta Biotechnology will have a strong presence at the conference. This will allow bluebox to make valuable contacts, many of which may potentially have an interest in some of the exciting technologies in our current pipeline.
AUTM also offers an unparalleled networking opportunity to facilitate industry-Academia partnerships and also inter-institutional collaborations. The conference also includes a technology pitch event where we will witness, firsthand, university-related startup companies pitch their company to a panel of seasoned investors, and learn some of the do’s and don’ts of the business.
During the time at AUTM both Kate and I will be attending a number of professional development sessions, including; a full day AUTM Startup Business Development Course, as well as the AUTM advanced Marketing and AUTM Technology Valuation course,
Well that’s all for now, both Kate and I are looking forward to the trip across the Pacific and will provide an update for you all upon return!
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