Get your Technology Development Questions Answered
Frequently Asked Questions
I have a research idea. Who owns it, me or BU?
The Technology Development team can help you work through the factors that determine who owns a research idea, including: Was the idea based on work that you do at BU, or separate from it? Were BU resources used in developing the idea? Our teams can also provide expertise on the patent process. To get started, contact Technology Development.
I have a new idea/discovery/invention. How can I find people who are interested in using it?
There are lots of options for finding real world applications for your research, from identifying companies who could collaborate on next steps or license your work, to starting your own company. Depending on the idea/discovery/invention, some ways may be a better fit than others. Regardless of how you’d like to get your idea into the world, your first step, after checking with Technology Development to protect your idea, should be to talk to potential customers and gather information about interest for your new discovery. To learn more about options and talking to potential users, contact Industry Engagement.
I have an idea for new technology. What’s my next step?
Firstly, congratulations! Come talk to the Industry Engagement and Technology Development teams before you publish. We can help you work through key questions to determine good fits for your technology, such as: Who are the potential users? Are there any industry applications? Contact Industry Engagement to schedule a meeting or request more information.
Can I bring an idea to market if it doesn’t involve a patent or other technology transfer?
Absolutely! There are lots of ways to translate ideas into impactful products without needing a patent; sometimes, know-how can be even more valuable to bringing an idea to market. The potential to go from an idea to a product runs across all disciplines and research areas. To learn more about your options, contact Rana Gupta at email@example.com
A company just reached out to me about my research. What’s next?
Contact the Industry Engagement team. Often, companies are looking to license technologies or to discuss the potential for joint research projects, both of which are great ways to fund interesting projects. Other times, companies might be interested in having you personally consult for them. Industry Engagement can help you learn more about a company’s needs, explore how they fit with your own research areas, and make sure that the company’s requests are in line with BU’s research and educational mission.
I want to start a company. What do I do?
Come talk to us. We can provide expertise in entrepreneurship, IP considerations, and sometimes even funding. We can also help you research or refine some key determining factors when starting a company, such as: Who is the customer? What is the market need? To learn more about Industry Engagement and Technology Development’s entrepreneurship resources, contact Rana Gupta at firstname.lastname@example.org
A company asked me to sign a CDA. What should I do?
Confidentiality Disclosure Agreements (also known as CDAs) are signed by the institution, so faculty are actually not able to sign one on their own. We recommend that, before agreeing to a CDA, you learn more about the company and how a CDA may impact your research going forward. Industry Engagement can help you determine the goals of the CDA, decide on best-practice next steps and help you navigate the CDA process if you do decide to move forward.
I have a meeting coming up with a company. What do I need to know?
Industry Engagement can help you prepare for meetings with a company, which can lead to excellent collaborations but which differ in important ways from academic collaborations. Our team is here to help strategize your objectives for a meeting, do background research on a company’s mission and customers, and be informed about BU’s policies around industry-related activities. Please reach out to our team to get support.
I made some industry contacts at a conference. What should I do next?
Just as we recommend doing preliminary research before meeting with a company, we encourage you to learn more about an industry contact’s company. Technology Development can advise you on protecting proprietary ideas and technology ideas you may have, and Industry Engagement can help you build up strong relationships with your contact and others at a company, as well as to explore potential collaborative opportunities. Contact one of our offices to get started.