Wanted: the next big patentable intellectual property idea from the mind of a new West Virginia University innovator.

Reward: $500.

WVU’s Office of Technology Transfer will be looking for an innovative idea that could become the next WVU technology commercialization success at a special reception that will bring together new members of the University’s research community for productive commercialization discussions and interactions.

The event, sponsored by OTT and the University’s new Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization initiative, will occur from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy. The reception will give researchers new to the University the chance to learn more about how OTT can help transform ideas into viable intellectual property potential and provide a vehicle for cross disciplinary discussions.

“We will have researchers from our traditional STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the Health Sciences Center, and the Mary Randolph Cancer Center all in one room at one time,” OTT Director Bruce Sparks said. “The idea is to introduce them to each other, get some innovation discussions going between researchers from different units and, just for fun, see if we can generate an intellectual property idea before the end of the evening.”

Sparks said ideas generated during the course of the reception will then be judged by experts with business and technology transfer expertise. The winner takes home a $500 commitment from reception organizers that can be used to advance the recipient’s professional development at WVU.

The proposed idea should suggest and explore a creative, original or potentially transformative design that has or is leading toward tangible impact. Ideas should advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields.

The judges will rely on the following criteria in judging the competition:

  • The likelihood of patenting, licensing or otherwise protecting and subsequently profiting from the idea. Innovative ideas gain precedence over incremental improvements of existing technology.
  • The innovative nature and technical feasibility of the idea.
  • The economic impact of the idea.
  • The commercial potential of the idea based on the market need.
  • The likelihood that the idea can achieve a sustainable, competitive advantage in the market.

Submissions will be accepted at the event until 6:30 p.m. The winner will be announced at 7:15 p.m.

“The whole idea of the evening is to emphasize the importance of commercializing the technologies that these talented folks can come up with in the laboratory,” Sparks said. “To do that, they need to know that OTT is here to help with strategies, resources and support. We are grateful for the help our new LIINC project has brought to the table to make this and other commercialization efforts possible.”

LIINC is supported by the Benedum Foundation and is designed to improve WVU’s research commercialization and economic impact by nurturing relationships between researchers and ties to industries.

One of the goals of the LIINC approach is to continue conversations and foster relationships between the faculty, students and the industry representatives that can lead to future commercialization successes.

Thursday’s events will also feature past WVU commercialization successes. Invitees to the event include all recently hired WVU research personnel since January 2009 and representatives of the Innovation Task Force and the Research Round Table.



Contact: Lindsay Emery; Office of Technology Transfer
304.293.0391; Lindsay.Emery@mail.wvu.edu

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