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UNMC students complete first tech transfer boot camp

OMAHA, Nebraska (June 23, 2015)—UNeMed’s first-ever tech transfer Boot Camp concluded last week, churning out seven University Nebraska Medical Center students and postdocs that are now better armed to help commercialize the science and discoveries that emanate from university research.

Created and designed by UNeMed’s Agnes Lenagh, Ph.D., the Boot Camp was a rigorous, hands-on course about the commercialization process. It gave participants a chance to experience the day-to-day operations of a technology transfer office like UNeMed. Students participated in mock contract negotiations, evaluated technology disclosures, and simulated marketing campaigns to commercialize hypothetical technologies.

“This will definitely impact me positively, and lead to more career choices,” said Simarjeet Negi, a Ph.D. candidate at UNMC.

Dr. Lenagh, a licensing specialist at UNeMed, created the Boot Camp after UNeMed recently received almost two dozen applications for one internship position at UNeMed. With so much interest in the industry, she wanted to help others boost their experience, and perhaps give them a chance to land a similar opportunity at another institution.

“We wanted to give students a chance to experience what it’s like at UNeMed and expose them to tech transfer,” Dr. Lenagh said.

The course featured a wide range of UNeMed staffers as guest speakers who instructed topics that covered the entire range of day-to-day technology transfer activities.

“I found the talks not only informative, but engaging as all the speakers welcomed interruption and indulged even tangentially related questions from the participants,” said another participant, Tyler Scherr, also a Ph.D. candidate.

Dr. Lenagh hopes the students will walk away with more than just a certificate of completion.

“Hopefully, they’ll think differently about their research in the lab,” she said. “Hopefully, they’ll think about how their research can become a product and help people.”

As the technology transfer arm of UNMC, a part of UNeMed’s mission is education, offering special services including the Boot Camp, various free seminars, and an educational course. The course, “Bioscience Entrepreneurship,” was first offered in in the 2013 fall semester, and is expected to return to the curriculum in the 2016-17 school year.