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The U. T. System has embarked on a dynamic new program dubbed “Ignite Texas!” that involves many initiatives to support the evolving culture and accelerate commercialization of inventions. Ignite Texas! offers pre-seed funds, entrepreneurship training, technology solutions, standard documents and policies, mentoring, and expanded collaborations to capture synergy and increase momentum in all corners of the state.
- The Texas Ignition Fund (TIF) is a $2 million program to grant up to $50K to help prepare discoveries with commercial potential to be funded by the ETF and/or private capital.
- The first TIF round generated 16 proposals from six U. T. institutions. Awards will be announced on April 1, 2008. The deadline for round two proposals is April 18, 2008.
- Tech transfer officers throughout the System report that faculty members not previously heard from have come forward with new commercializable discoveries as a result of the fund.
- TIF funds are leveraged with similar funds at four U. T. institutions, totaling more than $5 million in pre-seed funding available System-wide.
- Incentive funds from the ETF will provide additional funding for similar programs.
- Entrepreneurship centers, “Boot Camps,” workshops, courses, and training programs are in place at several U. T. System campuses, typically in collaboration with business schools, including a degree program sponsored by the IC2 Institute (Innovation, Creativity, and Capital) at U. T. Austin.
- The Ideas on Fire! lecture series, to be co-sponsored by U. T. System Administration Office of Research and Technology Transfer (RTT) and UTMDACC, will be available this fall ’08 for all U. T. System faculty, students, and staff.
- Ideas on Fire! Life Sciences is piloting at UTMDACC this spring ‘08.
- Technology Solutions are being developed for system-wide use and public access. RTT is exploring administrative software; a collaborative task force is examining IP marketing software that can be shared; and U. T. Arlington (UTA) has taken the lead to launch the following Web-based search and reporting tools [TBA this spring ‘08]:
- Collaborative Partnership Web site links research capacity across institutions to facilitate searches for expertise, equipment, facilities, technologies, and more. Three universities are contributing data so far.
- Patent Web search tool enables searches for patents across participating institutions, for use by potential licensors, investors, and collaborators.
- Reporting module provides instant updates on technology transfer activities from campuses to U. T. System Administration. Data is pulled real-time from existing technology transfer software.
- Professional Staffing continues to expand System-wide, with more than 100 full-time employees supporting commercialization directly on campuses. More staff working in incubators, business schools, administration, and other related activities are not included in this number.
- The U. T. System RTT added two senior executives over the past six months to improve coordination and help maximize synergy with commercialization and compliance resources, bringing total RTT staffing to seven.
- Commercialization and technology transfer staffing on campuses increased 12 percent in FY06 (+ 45 percent over 5 years).
- Regional technology transfer collaborations are gaining momentum, with the South Texas Technology Management (STTM) team in San Antonio fully staffed and serving UTHSC-SA, UTSA, UTB, and UTPA.
- Standard document templates and vast legal resources for intellectual property (contracts, copyrights, conflict management plans, patents, trademarks, research, clinical trials, etc.), are used by faculty and staff System-wide and are publicly available on the U. T. System Office of General Counsel reference Web site.
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