The promise and perils of tech transfer

March 07, 2007
From The San Francisco Chronicle [original URL]
by Tom Abate

About 25 years ago, Congress encouraged universities to commercialize federally funded research by allowing both schools and scientists to profit when they patented discoveries and licensed them to private firms.

This week, hundreds of top university officials will gather in San Francisco as the Association of University Technology Managers meets to mull the promise and perils of this process known as technology transfer.

To Bay Area residents, tech transfer is as familiar as the myth of Silicon Valley: Take knowledge, add capital and create startups....

....The meeting, which starts tonight and runs through Saturday, comes as the controversy around university-industry partnerships is flaring up again, thanks to the proposed $500 million research partnership between the University of California and British Petroleum to develop fuels....