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Assistive Technology Transfer Update


Title: Addressing Professional and Technological Growth & Diversity
Author: F. Timothy Janis
Published: 2003
Publication: Assistive Technology Transfer Update: Vol. 5 (Spring) Annual Report, 2001-2002

Dr. Timothy Janis, President of ARAC Inc., contends that technology transfer is both a profession and an industry. Despite the absence of standard practices and professional development, the technology transfer industry grew rapidly over the past several decades. Technology transfer offices appeared in all seven hundred Federal Laboratories, university offices quadrupled to nearly four hundred, while private brokering firms now number in the thousands. Professional societies experienced similar growth from inception to several thousand members in the past decades.

Growth in the profession reflects confidence in the assumption that technology transfer adds value to participating organizations. This assumption appears to be more valid for technology developers actively pursuing transfers than for those passively cataloging available technologies. Organizations will eventually test this assumption by holding programs accountable for their activities and outcomes. Application industries like assistive technology will be challenged to identify how these emerging technologies will benefit their products and customers, and how to overcome the barriers to successful transfer.

Managing this technological growth and diversity will require knowledge management tools, such as digital libraries of intellectual property (e.g., IP.com), and databases of technology-related projects (e.g., Defense Technical Information Center). Proactive technology transfer offices will have to master these new tools in addition to maintaining current knowledge of requirements in any particular field of application.

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