“No amount of time wandering around the garden thinking about what you are going to write actually puts words on the page.” Today Lisa has the pleasure to welcome Tom Hockaday to the show. Tom is the author of the book, University Technology Transfer: What It Is and How to Do It, published in April 2020 by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Tom was the director of Oxford University Innovation, the technology transfer company at the University of Oxford. Before Oxford University Innovation, Tom was the head of Technology Transfer at the University of Bristol.
Tom shares what inspired him to write his book and how long it took him. He discusses the history of tech transfer in the UK and the impact of missed opportunities in tech transfer. Tom also speaks about NRDC, now known as the British Technology Group, and what they do.
Listen as Tom details the questions of ‘what’ then ‘how’ and whether they help researchers commercialize their research results. In his book, Tom talks about how difficult tech transfer is and how his colleagues at Oxford University Innovation overcame that difficulty. Tom believes that tech transfer is one of the best jobs you can get.
Tom describes Easy Access IP, how it got its start and the impact it has had on tech transfer in the UK, and the rise of the University venture fund at Oxford. Tom believes that the four forces at play that can lead to Tech Transfer offices’ disappearance at some universities are Impact, Research Collaboration Networks, University Venture Funds, and Student Entrepreneurs.
In This Episode:
- [01:39] Welcome to the show, Tom!
- [01:59] Tom shares his background and how he ended up in technology transfer.
- [04:20] Listen, as Tom discusses his inspiration for writing his book.
- [06:44] Tom speaks about how long it took him to write the book and says that no matter how much you think about what to write, it doesn’t make it appear on paper.
- [07:58] Tom discusses the history of tech transfer in the UK.
- [10:28] He shares a key point about penicillin and monoclonal antibodies being a missed opportunity for the UK.
- [13:38] Tom speaks about the NRDC, now known as British Technology Group.
- [15:22] Listen as Tom details the question of ‘What’ then ‘How.’
- [18:35] Are we helping researchers commercialize the results of their research?
- [21:53] Tom discusses what his colleagues did at Oxford University Innovation to overcome tech transfer difficulty.
- [24:50] Tom says this is a job that is one of the best jobs you can get if it works for you.
- [27:00] Is there a difference in the structure of tech transfer offices in the UK vs. the US?
- [32:28] Tom describes “Easy Access IP” and how it got its start and the impact it has had on tech transfer in the UK.
- [36:05] He talks about the University Venture Fund’s rise at Oxford and where it stands today.
- [40:31] Tom discusses the introduction of impact as a measure of university research excellence and what it means for the UK’s future.
- [45:18] What are your thoughts on the need to be careful when we talk about the impact and benefits the university research has on society?
- [47:27] Tom talks about what he believes are the four forces at play that will lead to tech transfer offices’ disappearance in some universities.
- [50:15] Tom speaks about the risk of student entrepreneurship, changing, and growing in universities.
- [54:21] Tom shares a letter at the end of his book written to a Vice-Chancellor and why he thought it was important to include in the book.
- [57:45] Thank you for being on the show!