UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), led by Ian McClure, is reaching across campus and across Kentucky to help researchers take ideas generated in the lab, in the classroom and out in the field and turn them into products and companies.
An OTC program called UKAccel is a professional development and experiential learning opportunity for UK researchers interested in turning their intellectual property into a potential startup. The goal is to discover if launching a start-up company is right for the researcher.
“Every time we decide to file a patent it’s an investment, and we’re always looking at ways that we can help make that investment more valuable,” said McClure. If the best commercialization pathway is a company, McClure said UK researchers need to understand the process and the time and effort involved in a startup. “What’s a business model going to look like? What’s a revenue model going to look like? Who’s going to run the company and how are you going to do that and your full-time job as a faculty member? Important questions that if they can answer in an informed manner, then we’ve added value to that patent decision.”
With guidance from the OTC and Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, qualified participants take part in an immersive experience in entrepreneurship culture, spending focused time over a three-month period at Awesome Inc, a business accelerator in downtown Lexington. Watch the UKAccel video to hear what participants had to say about the UKAccel experience.
The University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University are partnering to grow the state’s economy, with research and intellectual property being the driving forces.
OTC and EKU’s Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CEDET), headed by Tom Martin, reached an agreement that calls for OTC to act as an independently contracted partner and service provider to EKU for intellectual property and commercialization services. The services provided by the OTC to EKU include:
- Assistance with EKU intellectual property (IP) development efforts, including assessing the potential value and patentability or copyrightable nature of invention disclosures.
- Assistance with EKU commercialization and IP procurement transaction costs, including market research, patent prosecution and docket management, identifying potential licensing partners, business development efforts to solicit interest in partnership, and negotiating and executing license agreements in coordination with EKU.
- Development and/or offering of effective faculty education programs and strategies that UK uses to reach out to faculty and encourage invention disclosure and pursuit of IP protection.
- Guidance to EKU on IP and commercialization matters, including to what UK does with non-patentable IP, particularly software.
- Help in building a stronger EKU network by implementing process and procedures.
- Solidification of a commercialization partnership that can help build a "research corridor" for collaborative research efforts between UK and EKU.
“We can channel the inventive activity happening at EKU through our office and collaborate and cooperate to give those ideas at EKU the best chance at succeeding,” McClure said. “It’s all about raising the bar for the Commonwealth.”
Listen to McClure’s interview that aired on "UK at the Half" to learn more.