The Burrill Report
The Burrill Report (April 24, 2009): How To Get Better Returns On Public Investment (.MP3,10.35 Mb)
Reg Kelly, the director of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences or QB3, thinks even though the Obama Administration’s stimulus package promises to direct billions of dollars into research, it is critical to change the way universities engage with the private sector to achieve the full benefit of such public investment in basic research. At a recent conference held by BayBio, the Northern California biotechnology industry association, Kelly spoke about some of the efforts underway at QB3 to interact differently with industry in the hopes of speeding the translation of discoveries to products that can benefit both the patients and the economy. Following his keynote address, we spoke to Kelly about the changing role of the university, why technology transfer alone is inadequate for delivering university discoveries to the public, and the need to create incentives to drive academics to focus on work that benefits the public good.
April 23, 2009http://www.burrillreport.com/article-rethinking_university_industry_relationships_.html
Similar issues exist and are very relevant for public-private partnerships with NIH and other government agencies. While it may seem that NIH is ahead of the curve given long established mechanisms such as CRADA's,and other programs that are designed to encourage translation of R&D by private companies, there are still major barriers. They are essentially the same as Reg Kelly has pointed out for Universities. We are missing great opportunities for effective collaborations that will benefit the greater good because we have not gone far enough in changing attitudes. The revitalizing cross-fertilization resulting from intelligently managed collaborations between companies and basic researchers to accomplish a worthwhile goal is well worth making the short leaps required to augment the perceived mission of each partner. It must include significant changes in attitude and specific policies on the part of administrative elements of the public agency including the philosophy of Offices of Technology Transfer. I am very dedicated to seeing progress made in this area because I want to see the tax $ invested in NIH return more benefit to the nation and the world.