When Scottish physical education teacher, Lesley Millar-Nicholson, moved to America for her then partner, and now wife, she could never have imagined the career trajectory that lay ahead of her.
An internship in the technology transfer office at the University of Illinois (where she received her MBA) led to a licensing job, which in turn led to her becoming the director of the office. She held this position for 10 years before moving on to her current role as director of the Technology Licensing Office at MIT, which receives one of the highest volumes of inventions per year across all United States universities!
In today’s episode, you’ll hear about Lesley’s team, the various programs that they are involved in, MITs unique approach to corporate engagement, and the challenges that sit alongside the rewards. There are too many to name them all, but Lesley shares a few of the inventions and start-up’s which have come out of MIT’s technology transfer office, including one which landed them an Emmy.
In This Episode:
- [00:51] Introducing today’s Scottish born and bred guest, Lesley.
- [02:07] Lesley shares what brought her to America, and the journey that led her to the technology transfer field.
- [04:24] Why Lesley feels so comfortable in the Northeast United States.
- [05:45] What Lesley’s technology transfer team at MIT looks like, and their yearly volume of work.
- [07:12] Examples of MIT’s innovation programs.
- [08:51] An explanation of the Shirley Transformation Project.
- [12:11] OSATT; Lesley explains the important role played by this organization at MIT.
- [15:34] What drove the founding of TenU, and what this group of university technology transfer offices does together.
- [17:59] How TenU has dealt with the changes that have come about as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
- [19:41] The sole focus of Lesley’s office, and how it is structured.
- [21:20] Faculty satisfaction; why Lesley sees this, rather than traditional metrics, as a key to success in the technology transfer field.
- [22:34] MIT’s unique and multi-faceted methods of corporate engagement.
- [27:09] The prestigious award sitting in the MIT office.
- [28:08] Some of the major technologies and start-up’s which have come out of MIT.
- [31:35] Two of the biggest challenges being experienced by Lesley’s office.
- [33:16] How MIT approaches issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
- [35:47] Comparing MIT’s number of female inventors with the national average, and how they are working towards lowering barriers to engagement.
- [38:03] How potential female founders are treated differently to their male counterparts, and the negative impacts of this.
- [40:57] Boards of which Lesley is, or has been, a member.
- [42:23] Lesley’s opinion on the value of credentialing.
- [43:40] Dreams that Lesley has for the future of her office.