About Technology Transfer

AUTM’s About Technology Transfer Video

Universities, hospitals, and research centers conduct a lot of research that generates groundbreaking inventions, that not only save lives, but improve the way we live, work, and play on a daily basis. Learn more about how technology transfer benefits you. View video.


Technology transfer is the process of transferring scientific findings from one organization to another for the purpose of further development and commercialization. The process typically includes:
  • Identifying new technologies
  • Protecting technologies through patents and copyrights
  • Forming development and commercialization strategies such as marketing and licensing to existing private sector companies or creating new startup companies based on the technology
Academic and research institutions engage in technology transfer for a variety of reasons, such as:
  • Recognition for discoveries made at the institution
  • Compliance with federal regulations
  • Attraction and retention of talented faculty
  • Local economic development
  • Attraction of corporate research support
  • Licensing revenue to support further research and education
Discover how academic technology transfer is driving the innovation economy and benefiting society. Download and share this infographic.
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Discover the economic contribution of university/nonprofit inventions in the United States. Download and share the AUTM BIO report.

The priority that is given to each of these factors varies from institution to institution. The ultimate benefits of technology transfer, however, are the public benefits derived from the products that reach the market and the jobs that result from the development and sale of products.

The patenting by academic institutions of discoveries resulting from research protects the investment made in research and ensures that these discoveries have the opportunity to reach the stream of commerce. Investments in intellectual property are returned to the public through products that benefit the public, increased employment, and state and federal taxes. Commercialization can be pursued without disrupting the core values of publication and sharing of information, research results, materials and know-how.

As the transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a knowledge-based economy continues, the role of university intellectual property will play an increasingly important part. Many states are developing programs to enhance economic development through technology transfer from local research universities. This growing emphasis on economic development will undoubtedly lead to more complicated relationships, interactions and expectations for academic institutions.


The AUTM Public Policy Committee intends to provide the membership with various tools that individual members can utilize in talking about and educating others on various issues that affect the academic technology transfer profession. Below are links to documents suggested for your use.

Learn More About Technology Transfer