Posted in News

Upcoming F.I.R.E. Events!

The F.I.R.E. Series returns this fall for another year of exciting topics and fabulous presenters.  For the next few months, we will be revisiting some of the basics of technology transfer.

  • In September, Carissa Childs, Ph.D., J.D. and Ted Merkel, J.D.  from LeClaire Ryan, LLP will discuss issues surrounding the creation and maintenance of a laboratory notebook.  Hopefully, these documents won’t be needed by anyone but your biographer, but if questions arise related to how and when you arrived at your discoveries, your laboratory notebook will hopefully be able to stand up in a court of law.

When:  Thursday, 8 September 2011, 9:00 – 10:00 AM

Where:  Class of ’62 Auditorium, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rooms #G-9425 and 1-9425

  • The technology transfer process begins with the invention disclosure form.  Everything we do after that revolves around the invention.  But just what is an “invention?”  When do you know that you have something worthy of disclosure?  In October, Kathryn Doyle, Ph.D., J.D. from Riverside Law will attempt to answer these very questions.

When:  Thursday, 13 October 2011, 9:00 – 10:00 AM

Where:  Class of ’62 Auditorium, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rooms #G-9425 and 1-9425

In November, we will discuss the basics of patenting in the United States; and in December, we will discuss the basics of the technology transfer process at the University of Rochester.

As always, the F.I.R.E. Series is a free event and open to the public (a small fee for parking may apply).  Registration is appreciated in order to help us get the refreshment order right.

For more information on the F.I.R.E. Series, including past sessions, upcoming events, and information on registration, see

Posted in News

Pages Updated – New! Featured Technologies Tab

We would like to announce the launch of our new “Featured Technologies” Tab found under the “Pages” column to the right of this post! This new tab will contain weekly featured technologies that have been developed by researchers at the University of Rochester and are available for licensing. We will be sure to keep it fresh and up-to-date, so please check it out and give us your feedback!!

Posted in News

F.I.R.E. Series

Way back in 2003 – when I was still fairly new to technology transfer – I was tasked with creating an educational seminar series that would inform our constituents just what the Office of Technology Transfer was all about.

“How hard could it be?” I thought.

So I sat down to think about it. I determined that any educational seminar worth its salt needed a good, catchy name. Unfortunately, good ideas were in short supply. I racked my brain, but nothing presented itself. Then I thought, “Absent a good name, how about a good acronym?” I identified the users of our services in chronological order: Researchers, Inventors, and Entrepreneurs. R.I.E. Rie? Rye?


But I could rearrange the letters like this: I.R.E.

Thus, the I.R.E. Series was born.

It didn’t take long to decide that the I.R.E. Series didn’t sound inviting at all, but I could call it For Inventors, Researchers, and Entrepreneurs.

The F.I.R.E. Series launched in June of 2003 as a brown bag lunch event. Increasing scheduling conflicts and issues with room availability led to a temporary suspension of the series in late 2004.

The series relaunched in November of 2005 in its present incarnation: a 9:00 AM meeting on the second Thursday of each month between September and June. The Center for Entrepreneurship became a generous sponsor of the F.I.R.E. Series in 2008, lending not only their support, but their enthusiasm and contacts as well. Since that time, attendance has swelled to include members of the Rochester business community.

To date, the F.I.R.E. Series has presented 62 installments on topics as varied as how to maintain a proper laboratory notebook, why Material Transfer Agreements are very important, how to manage a conflict of interest, how to select the right business entity for a start-up company, how the patenting process really works, and the significance of the Supreme Court ruling in KSR v. Teleflex. Our presenters have been some of the preeminent patent attorneys in America, bankers, VCs, and our own in-house experts.

The F.I.R.E. Series resumes this 8 September. See to learn more, or to keep abreast of upcoming events. You can also find a link on that page to join the OTT_FIRE listserv, which sends out monthly announcements about the F.I.R.E. Series, as well as similar events in Upstate New York.

  •   David Englert
Posted in News

Technology Development Fund

Research Universities are known for being centers of innovation and inspiration that often generate a wealth of promising new technologies. Unfortunately, many of these new inventions demand an inordinate amount of money just to get moving, and consequently require investors to get involved at the beginning stages of development. Likewise, these technologies call for high-risk ventures, which are hard to come by and difficult to maintain. Therefore, the challenge of creating a bridge between the culmination of research and the translation of discovery remains problematic. 

Several years ago, the University of Rochester’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) began designing its first ever Technology Development Fund (TDF). The fund would operate as a tool to help foster the advancement of innovative research. It took a lot of hard work, dedication, and collaboration, but eventually the program was completed, and in October of 2010, OTT unveiled its new initiative!

This new program was developed, in part, to help resolve the deficit issue surrounding research funding and to accelerate the transfer of technology from the bench-side to the bed-side. Similarly, the fund seeks to support pre-commercialization research and prototype development to help increase the value of early stage technologies. The TDF permits strategic investments in promising discoveries, which allows OTT to actively advance and promote groundbreaking technologies for widespread use and application.

Qualified applicants include all University employees; any faculty member, post doctoral fellow, graduate student, etc., who has submitted an invention disclosure to OTT. If you do not have an invention disclosure on file with our offices, but wish to be considered for the fund, you must indicate intent to pursue commercial opportunities when applying.

The TDF solicits proposals twice a year, first in October and again in April, and requires applicants to submit both a pre-proposal and, if selected, a full proposal on or before each specific deadline.

The pre-proposal should be no longer than two pages and should be formatted in Microsoft Word, preferably using the pre-proposal template. The pre-proposal should include: background information about the project, a proposed research and development plan, investigator information, and relevant references (up to 5).


((Note: pre-proposals are typically due at the beginning of October, but this year the deadline has been moved forward. Therefore, if you wish to be considered for the fall 2011 award, you must email your application to the Screening Committee NO LATER than September 1st, 2011!!))

Each pre-proposal is then reviewed and those projects, which best satisfy the criteria outlined in the review process, will be asked to submit a Full Proposal.

The Screening Committee manages the fund, reviews all applications, and is responsible for identifying those projects deemed best to satisfy the criteria. The committee is made up of a number of highly qualified individuals that regularly call on external input from the commercial sector, entrepreneurs, members of angel networks, and the venture community when evaluating proposals.

The TDF application process is easy to navigate through, if challenges arise, mentors are made readily available for your convenience. Applicants may request assistance from a number of professional advisers and coaches; their services are here for you so be sure to take advantage of all they have to offer!

Financial awards are announced 8 -12 weeks from the submission of the pre-proposals. The awards are then presented to the winning applicants and distributed according to department protocols. Rewards range from $40,000 – $100,000 in funding to support projects for approximately one year. The fund supports technical and administrative staff salaries, equipment, and supplies. It does not fund faculty salaries or overhead.

Past Award Winners include:

Research in vaccine development and fuel cell production are the first two projects to be funded under the new University of Rochester Technology Development Fund.

  • Jacob Schlesinger, M.D. (Department of Medicine) has been awarded $100,000 to continue to design and test a vaccine for dengue fever, a disease primarily found in the developing world and one that has eluded efforts to develop a vaccine. Schlesinger’s research in this area has received support from the Gates Foundation and the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative. 
  • Hong Yang, Ph.D. (Department of Chemical Engineering) has been awarded $60,000 to produce and test a novel catalyst for fuel cells.  The catalyst, which is constructed of nano-materials, has the potential to increase effectiveness and reduce cost of the hydrogen and methanol fuel cells.
  • Todd Krauss, Ph.D. (Department of Chemistry) has been awarded $80,000 to continue to develop and test a new semiconductor nano-crystal (NC) synthetic procedure that is extremely efficient in converting chemical precursors to NCs. In the last year Dr. Krauss’ lab discovered the fundamental chemical reaction mechanism underlying syntheses of II-VI and IV-VI (NCs), such as CdSe or PbSe NCs, solving a 20-year old puzzle in the field.
Posted in Pertinent Patent Regulations

What is the “Technology” in Technology Transfer?

It is important that everyone understands what “technology” means in the context of Technology Transfer. Anything novel with some kind of translational potential – no matter how vague and abstract at its inception – is considered a new technology! It can be as obscure as a theoretical concept of a new treatment method, or as concrete as a structurally novel chemical compound with biological activities. Whatever the case may be, pick up the phone or send us an email – we welcome any and all opportunities to answer your questions and help guide you through the process! After all…that is what we’re here for! See our web site for methods of contacting us.

At one time, there was a misconception that disclosing a technology to OTT would preclude a researcher from publishing his findings until a patent application was published. This is not true. We strongly encourage our researchers to consult with us prior to any public disclosure in order to secure intellectual property protection, if appropriate. A public disclosure can be a submitted abstract, a poster displayed in a public place, a presentation given to a non-University audience, a manuscript sent for peer review, a grant application, or a casual conversation with an industry representative. Once disclosure occurs, many intellectual property rights are forfeited. Not only will this reduce the potential value of the technology, it may limit your rights to practice your own invention. We are here to help you – not get in your way. OTT will work with you to ensure that proper IP protection strategies are in place in advance of your intended date of public disclosure.