WHOI, RTDC Technology Transfer Partnership

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Regional Technology Development Corp. (RTDC) of Cape Cod announced the signing of a technology transfer and entrepreneurial services agreement designed to accelerate the transfer of WHOI technology innovations to the marketplace.

The alliance is an outsourcing arrangement intended to immediately and cost-effectively enhance licensing capabilities at WHOI and the commercialization of WHOI innovations and expertise. The partnership with the RTDC is the latest initiative from the WHOI Office for Applied Oceanography (OAO), established in 2007 to encourage innovation in technology, serve as a hub for WHOI licensing and commercialization efforts, and protect the institution’s intellectual property.

“This unique arrangement provides WHOI immediate access to a critical mass of expertise that would take years for us to build internally,” said Dan Stuermer, WHOI vice president of external relations and director of the Office for Applied Oceanography.

The overall goals of the collaboration are to:
•    Identify and advance a greater number of commercializable WHOI research projects
•    Facilitate and accelerate the licensing and transfer of WHOI technologies to industry to develop new products and processes and to establish new companies
•    Establish more applied research collaborations and technology development partnerships between WHOI researchers and commercial entities as well as other research institutions

The terms of this one-year agreement call for the RTDC to work closely with the WHOI OAO to integrate a market-driven approach into very early technology evaluation and serve as the primary contact for licensing opportunities and entrepreneurial services. Taking a systematic approach, the RTDC will identify and evaluate commercializable WHOI technologies, assess new and existing markets, and identify potential funding sources. Throughout the process, the RTDC will add value to the strategic transfer of WHOI technologies by providing a variety of transactional relationships including entrepreneurial services, commercialization and business development advisement, and strategic links with investors, business development executives, and economic development leaders. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Technology transfer is a two-way street that involves not only identifying, vetting, and pushing research innovations out to industry, but also industry pull—stimulating market applications by actively identifying technology needs that will enhance the products and services of companies and other institutions,” said Robert A. Curtis, Pharm.D., CEO of the RTDC.

“Our industry is seeing unprecedented opportunities for the application of marine and environmental research technologies to help solve fundamental and complex problems in areas such as ocean energy, aquaculture, and environment monitoring,” said Cheryl Zimmerman, president of the Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network, a nonprofit professional association that promotes the business of ocean technology. “We are very pleased that WHOI is joining forces with the RTDC to better identify these existing and emerging market applications and to make the critical connections between the institution’s research programs and industry.”

(www.whoi.edu)

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