The Association of Technology Transfer Professionals (ATTP), an alliance of fourteen knowledge exchange, knowledge transfer and technology transfer (KE, KT and TT) associations including SARIMA, has recently designated the status of Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP) to both Mrs Ravini Moodley, Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Manager of the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Mr Philip Hoekstra, Intellectual Property Manager of the University of Cape Town (UCT). Congratulations, Ravini and Philip!
The RTTP status gives successful applicants credibility in over 60 countries around the world as an expert in KT, KE & TT. A list of RTTPs is published on the ATTP website. https://attp.info/current-rttps/
Currently, there are 13 professionals in South Africa with RTTP status.
Below is an interiview carried out by Anita Nel (SARIMA committee member, CEO of Innovus and Chief Director: Innovation and Busines Development, Stellenbosch University, South Africa) with Paul Van Dun (please click here to access Paul’s CV).
Tell us more about yourself – who you are, where you are, your experience as a TT professional and what you currently do in your organisation.
Eighteen years ago I left my job in industry to start as a TT professional at Leuven Research & Development, the tech transfer office of the University of Leuven: I had more questions than answers regarding my future job content, but it turned out to be the best decision I have ever taken. The office was relatively small at that time, so every person, myself included, had to be a jack of all trades. Quite stressy, especially since you continuously felt as if you had to deal with cases you lacked sufficient knowledge/expertise, but, looking back on this period, it was an excellent learning experience. As general manager, I currently supervise the activities in contract & collaborative research, patenting, licensing, spinoff creation and regional development.
Why did you apply for RTTP?
When the RTTP system was launched, I was already active in TT for several years, and I did not apply in order to get some kind of diploma: TT is not something you can learn from a book, and RTTP has understood this very well, as it is experience driven. But I’m proud to be part of the TT community and to me RTTP is the expression of my community membership – a global community.
Has RTTP benefitted you in your current position? (or “What do you consider to be the most important benefits of obtaining RTTP?”)
RTTP is a peer review system, and in the community you learn that, although every single university and TT environment is different, the main drivers and basic challenges are the same all over the world. Exchanging ideas with other RTTP-members has really helped me a lot: not through ‘copy and paste’ (as ‘one size fits all’ is not applicable to TT), but because you can get inspired by some elements or practices used by your colleagues which you can maybe modify and implement in your own environment.
What advice do you have for young Technology Transfer professionals?
Few job environments are so rich in opportunities you can explore as a university environment: continuously so many new technologies, new insights, new possibilities. My experience has taught me that most of the researchers are really open to input … provided you have something to tell them and you can add value (no rubberstamp mentality!). So: make sure you learn fast from your colleagues in the office, but also from your peers elsewhere, prepare your cases thoroughly and, above all, try to build a relationship of trust with the researchers.