So, why an institute rather than a good old research foundation? University affiliated research foundations have been around for nearly 100 years–many date from the 1920s and 30s. These were set up originally to manage inventions for faculty (before anyone was required to disclose or assign). Later, some research foundations also took contracting roles for research grants, and some also run research parks.
We wanted something that moved beyond the research foundation. The analogy we worked with was a specialized university medical clinic, which combines top-rate practicing professionals with advanced research and training. We didn’t see this in technology transfer offices, nor in research foundations.
The TEI concept was built on the recognition that we have plenty to learn and communicate about the role of university research in driving technology (and community) roadmaps for innovation. The thought is, best research into technology administration is also grounded in practice. We figured the combination of research and practice builds a solid foundation for training in research management. An institute frames the activities much better than a service-based foundation. The supervisory boards are different, the points of connection to the university are different, the workload is different, as are the outcomes and measures of success. The TEI was intended to complement rather than supplant the existing research, transfer, and entrepreneurial services at and around the university.