The University of Michigan's Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) has gotten off to a fast start this semester, shedding new light on its methods, strategies and results in a series of formal and informal events on campus.
The drive began late last month as OTT officials held their annual Celebrate Invention gala. According to AnnArbor.com, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was among those in attendance, remarking on the diversity and creativity of ideas on display.
This month, CBS Local received an all-access tour behind the scenes at the OTT's 50,000-square-foot quadrant of the campus. The headquarters are now home to nearly 30 core staff members, alongside dedicated space for the UM Venture Center Accelerator and 19 private companies.
"When a professor has an idea and it looks like it could be a company, we get involved with them to find what is the market need for such an idea, what are the best paths, what is the business model and should it be a company," OTT director Ken Nisbet told the news outlet, explaining his team's typical intake process. "Our goal is to surround them with kindness, services and tough love, and move them along. And if they're going to fail, learn that early and make them sustainable when they leave."
The university benefits from an annual research endowment that has now eclipsed $1.2 billion, but according to CBS, administrators have not hesitated to share the wealth. Through a formalized partnership with seven other research-focused schools across the state, OTT officials are sharing both intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of established inventors and aspiring entrepreneurs.