Technology transfer champions collaboration across various sectors of our society to bring together persons or organization to share skills, knowledge, technology, and facilities among participants, with the end goal of creating solutions to support the development of society. The Covid-19 vaccine developments, saw the world of research come together. Academia, industry and governments across the globe mobilized, with the intent, of rapidly developing vaccines to counteract the effects of the virus. This joint effort, was indeed a great example of Technology Transfer. Efforts were made not only in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, but also in manufacturing, computing and social services. Thanks to these collaborations, vaccinations are underway in several countries.
With a problem this large, it was more than natural to work towards finding solutions towards a common goal. However, the pandemic altered everyday life as we know it. “The New Normal” is a term often heard. Lockdowns, social distancing, wearing masks, a general increase in people working from home, online learning and meetings, are slowly replacing everyday activities, like going to work, brunches, and travelling. The same effects have been felt by the Technology Transfer world, where conferences, workshops and events have migrated online – taking away the social and more personal aspect of these events.
So, what does the New Normal mean for Technology Transfer? Would this hinder the transfer of university research outputs? The collaborations established to combat the Covid-19 virus, suggests otherwise, however, this may not be the case when we are dealing with day-to-day technology transfer. Things perhaps may slow down at the beginning, especially for non-Covid related technologies; due to changes in pipeline priorities, resource allocation, and due staff in Technology Transfer Offices and in industries alike, being spread thin and working separately from their homes. Furthermore, trust is a key factor when establishing partnerships. By taking away the personal aspect of networking, some may find it harder to build a working relationship, thus refrain from investing in new collaboration opportunities.
Perhaps, this is where online platforms such as Knowledge Share can come in and bridge between the worlds of academia and industry; by building a reputation and introducing experts to one another, a little bit like when recommending a candidate for interview. We can recommend and vouch for the integrity of the University network we represent and provide reassurances with regards to integrity and professionalism of said inventors.
Saying this, we are also looking forward in catalysing collaborations across the globe. It is very likely that part of our activities will migrate online, giving a change of universities and businesses, who are situated in opposite parts of the world to come together, share their know-how and tackle current world challenges in unison. Only the future can tell… but we can do our best to make this happen!
Author: Gloria Padmaperuma