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Memorial's tech transfer office brings research ideas to market

Research

By Moira Baird

Bringing Memorial research ideas to market took another step forward with a recent federal funding announcement for the university’s Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (TTCO).

Springboard Atlantic Inc., a network of Atlantic Canadian universities and colleges that includes Memorial, received more than $9.2 million in federal funding in January to turn promising research into new products and services.

Tim Avis is director of the Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office at Memorial.
Tim Avis is director of the Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office at Memorial.

Atlantic Innovation Fund

The three-year funding commitment was made under the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA’s) Atlantic Innovation Fund to support 30 commercialization officers in the Atlantic region.

Memorial’s share of the funds supports four officers within TTCO, which was created last July to support industrial liaison, technology transfer and commercialization at the university.

“It enables Memorial to continue fostering a progressive culture of technology transfer and commercialization.” — Dr. Ray Gosine

Dr. Ray Gosine, vice-president (research) pro tempore and a member of Springboard Atlantic’s board of directors since 2014, thanked ACOA for its continued financial support.

“It enables Memorial to continue fostering a progressive culture of technology transfer and commercialization at the university and throughout the province,” he said.

“Through our Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, Memorial is committed to encouraging an environment in which entrepreneurial graduate students, university researchers and the business community are able to work together, succeed in bringing research ideas to market and contribute to the provincial economy.”

TTCO team in place

The creation of TTCO was one of the key recommendations in university’s Technology Transfer and Commercialization Strategy.

The new office, located in the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation on the St. John’s campus, is part of the vice-president (research) portfolio.

Its director is Tim Avis, a familiar name to the Memorial community and former chief financial officer of the Genesis Group. He’s joined by a team that includes Drs. Paula Mendonça and Matthew Grimes, Daniel Hoyles and Melissa Brothers.

“We offer the services of intellectual property assessments and commercialization, and the Springboard funding enables us to continue fulfilling that mandate,” said Mr. Avis.

Mr. Avis said the office assesses a researcher’s idea to determine if there’s a good business case for commercializing it.

“If we accept it, we’re able to access additional funding above and beyond the baseline funding that we receive from Springboard. We also have proof-of-concept funds to help researchers leverage that money with other grants to produce a prototype or prove that their concept actually has an industrial application.”

Products and services

ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund encourages partnerships among private-sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop and commercialize new or improved products and services.

Springboard Atlantic receives core support from its members and from the federal government through ACOA.


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