OTMIR Offers a New Approach to Promoting Faculty Invention and Innovation
The MU Office of Technology Management and Industry Relations was formed just over a year ago following a reorganization of the Office of Technology and Special Projects. OTMIR's goal is to identify marketable technology resulting from research at the University of Missouri-Columbia, legally protect it, and see that it benefits the public. OTMIR's mission also involves generating income for the University and its faculty inventors, developing and enhancing relationships with industrial partners and, in general, boosting our region's economic development.
As part of our plan for achieving these goals, the OTMIR has developed a three-pronged strategy. First, we are working to provide an environment at MU that fosters intellectual discovery, creative problem solving and the dissemination and application of knowledge. Next, we are striving to offer superior support services to our research clientele and industry partners. Finally, we are devoting new resources to establishing national and international partnerships.
Communication is key to the success of these endeavors. Toward that end, OTMIR personnel spend a great deal of time in the laboratories and offices of MU faculty learning about the expertise these faculty have to offer. Our team also helps MU faculty become more responsive to the needs of corporate partners, and meet expectations of contractual agreements. In addition, we act as a liaison between our faculty and representatives from private industry, assisting both parties in understanding MU intellectual property and research agreement policies.
Already these efforts are yielding benefits. In the first six months of this year, for example, faculty have almost equaled the prior year's number of new disclosures. We have also increased the number of discoveries in the pipeline by close to 70 percent. More important still is that OTMIR staff are actively managing 307 MU technologies at different stages of marketing -- an impressive number for any university, let alone an institution that employs just three licensing associates.
Such numbers are just the first indication of what we believe will be a dramatic increase in MU's industrially supported research, a boost that will further enhance the University's role in making important new discoveries and technologies available to the citizens of our state and nation.