Panel of professors and researchers hosted by the Office of Technology Industry Relations in the Charles B. Wang Center on Feb. 5. The panelists shared their experiences with patenting licensing products from their research. FANNI FRANKL/THE STATESMAN

The Office of Technology Licensing and Industry Relations at Stony Brook welcomed a panel of professors and researchers to the Charles B. Wang Center on Feb. 5 to discuss collaboration with businesses.

Fifty people filled the lecture hall listening to Stony Brook faculty members share their experiences with patenting and licensing products from their research.

Associate Vice President for Technology Partnerships and moderator of the event, Peter Donnelly, explained that the goal of the panel is to help aspiring and budding researchers develop connections in industries.

“We want to do these events very much in the spirit of drawing on the collective wisdom and experience of the community and sharing it with those that don’t have that same experience,” Donnelly said. “Attracting and collaborating with industry partners is becoming more important to all research institutions. Our panel offers a very good view on that breadth.”

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The interactive question and answer driven session discussed the complex intersection of university research and industry collaboration by covering the best emerging practices for forging deeper ties between the business industry and university researchers. Some of the topics that panelists broached included how to market their products and the best ways to build business connections.

Dr. Jingfang Ju, a researcher at the Renaissance School of Medicine and one of the panel speakers, commented on the dedication that goes into licensing a product and stressed that business partnerships make them a reality.

“This invention is like your baby that you have raised for twenty years,” he said. “You now have to find someone to adopt this baby. It took me almost a year to find partners and to find teams to form a start-up company.” 

Other topics the panelists discussed ranged from the best way to build connections to patent a particular product, to their personal experiences in dealing with the research industries to market their inventions. They stressed the importance of actively seeking connections to increase networking. This can allow postdoctoral scholars into the spotlight and make their invention an idea that can go on the market.

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Associate Director in the Office of Technology Licensing, Donna Tumminello, wanted an event like this to bring a better understanding for “the rising star young faculty” to make business-research collaborations more approachable, since many who are just starting may be confused on where to start.

“The panelists, Dr. Anurag Purwar, Dr. Jingfang Ju, Dr. Martin Kaczocha, Dr. Sanjay Sampath and Dr. Wei Zhao, were hand picked because of their experience either in getting a product on the market or starting their own company,” she said. “We don’t have industry here so we want to speak very frankly about this because sometimes it is very difficult in collaborating with industry and we want people to talk freely about that.”

Associate Vice President for Procurement at Stony Brook, Carmen Gonzalez, commented on the significance of researchers understanding how these partnerships work so her office can deliver the best possible experience to help them in their research and resources.

“It is so helpful to understand the partnership between researchers and industry,” she said. “It is interesting that such a small percentage of our research is sponsored by industry. So, learning how to partner with industry would be so beneficial in growing research resources.” 

When doing research and coming up with potentially patented inventions, the realm of marketing and creating partnerships can be confusing. This panel served to alleviate student concerns and make their business collaboration run as smoothly as possible to make their research experience error-free.

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