The Commercialization Pillar provides the administrative framework and processes to capture and create value arising from research. There must be an organization with processes, policies and procedures to: write and execute contracts for sponsored research with outside parties; identify, create and protect intellectual property; implement best practices in technology transfer to both new and existing companies that are fair and transparent in defining the legal agreements that link funding, research and commercialization; provide transparency and guidelines for preventing conflict of interests; provide mentoring across the entire value chain from idea to commercialization; and promote and nurture connections and build networks both within and external to the university.
Since we envision that research contract administration and intellectual property licensing will report within the same organization, care must be taken to balance the interests of research sponsors and spin-outs with the correlate interest of inventors and Skoltech in designing a process that is transparent, auditable, and consistent with university licensing best practices. The use of a template research contract and a template intellectual property license will provide a common origin for negotiations and consistency in terms and conditions, yet preserve the ability to customize agreements.
A number of mechanisms based on accumulated experience at MIT and elsewhere are important to achieving these goals. These include: industrial liaison and venture finance networks; student clubs and activities; internal and public events; publication through journals, web blogs, etc.; administration of competitions and rewards; competitions for venture creation, business plans and solving “grand challenges”; and reward and celebration of achievement.