Office of Tech Transfer Director Focuses on Service
New director Jeremy Tamsen seeks to support researchers and industry
The University of Idaho Office of Research and Economic Development welcomed Jeremy Tamsen to the newly created position of director of the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) in November 2016. With his background in business, industry and law, Tamsen is charged with establishing OTT as an office dedicated to serving UI researchers and sharing their technologies and ideas with the people who can benefit from them.
“My first priority is to make this a service-oriented office,” he said. “Ultimately, I want this to be an office people are comfortable and happy dealing with.”
Tamsen is an exciting new addition to the ORED team, said Janet Nelson, vice president for research and economic development.
“Jeremy brings energy, dedication and a team-spirit approach to the Office of Technology Transfer, a vital component to fulfilling our research and economic development mission,” Nelson said. “I look forward to working with him as we serve our innovative researchers and demonstrate our commitment to being an industry-friendly university.”
Background in Business
Tamsen comes to the job with enthusiasm for and experience with UI. He is a 2016 graduate of the College of Law, through which he spent a semester in practice at the Boise State University Office of Technology Transfer, as well as 10 months working as a limited-license attorney in UI’s Small Business Legal Clinic.
Before attending law school, he spent nearly eight years working in management and training for Starbucks Coffee Company. In 2012, he began working for Howard Industries, a Mississippi-based domestic manufacturing company, helping match the company’s information technology systems with the needs of K-12 schools in Colorado.
Tamsen said his career experience has developed his business acumen and marketing knowledge, and prepared him to help match researchers’ talents with industry needs — all skills he can use to make UI’s technology transfer enterprise successful.
Mission of Service
Tamsen wants OTT to be known for its speed and efficiency in helping researchers protect their discoveries and reach positive outcomes.
He’s beginning his time on the job by meeting with deans across campus to understand their needs and concerns, then presenting to groups of faculty and students. His goal is to show researchers how working with OTT can pay off.
“We are here to help you protect and recoup on your investment as far as time, and the university’s investment as far as facilities and equipment,” he said.
Tamsen encourages researchers to come to OTT early in the course of developing a technology or process, even before they’re certain whether it’s patentable — the office can help analyze the novelty and potential impact of new discoveries and inventions. He said he would prefer over-disclosure to seeing researchers miss out on an opportunity.
In addition to bringing money to researchers, Tamsen said, technology disclosures, patents and commercialization help UI meet the goals of its Strategic Plan. Offering students the chance to patent their findings and work with productive faculty encourages recruitment and retention. A robust technology transfer program attracts talented faculty and support from industry partners.
“The more activity top to bottom that we have, the more we’ll encourage that whole ecosystem,” he said.
Support for Economic Development
Tamsen will work closely with the new executive director for Economic Development — for whom a search began in fall 2016 — to share information about forthcoming technologies and the needs of clients from small businesses to major industries. They also will partner to apply UI’s recently expanded intellectual property policy.
In addition to promoting market-driven research, OTT also is dedicated to supporting discovery-based research, which Tamsen said is a vital part of UI’s role.
“All these things feed into the land-grant mission,” Tamsen said. “We’re here to improve lives in our towns, in our state, in our region and in our nation. Turning out those innovations that can be useful to the community, even if they don’t impact the bottom line, is still definitely within our purview and definitely within my drive here.”
Article by Tara Roberts, University Communications and Marketing