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Students help analyze faculty discoveries for potential profits

Ashley Tripp

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University of Alabama students are getting first access to certain faculty discoveries and inventions as a way for the Office for Technology Transfer to evaluate the new patents’ potential applications and marketing.

“A positive outcome of the OTT is that University investment in developing faculty member research provides faculty members the opportunity to benefit both the University and their students, as well as to personally augment their income, all within the University setting,” Clark Midkiff, one of the faculty representatives for OTT, said.

These students are divided into groups of four to five called “triage teams,” which include an undergraduate Honors student, an MBA marketing student, a law student and a graduate student from the chemistry or engineering programs. Once the teams sign non-disclosure agreements, the groups are given three to four weeks to evaluate a given discovery as a part of their technology assignment.

More than 20 teams have evaluated over 100 potential discoveries. According to OTT statistics, this evaluation has resulted in the “issuance of 68 patents, including 13 in the United States, and UA has 13 active licensing agreements with external entities.” These inventions range from categories such as biotechnology, consumer goods, diagnostics, energy, engineering, healthcare, ionic liquids, electronics and software.

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Students help analyze faculty discoveries for potential profits