Through licensing and start-ups, Virginia Tech faculty members are finding new ways to impact the world through translation of their research into products and services.

Since 2018, the number of license agreements at Virginia Tech has doubled and the number of start-ups has tripled, despite the effects of the pandemic. One recent example is the research and licensing agreement made between Virginia Tech’s Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics and Boston-based start-up Dive Technologies, which was recently purchased by Anduril

“It is a really exciting time at Virginia Tech to be supporting technology transfer and start-ups,” said Brandy Salmon, associate vice president for innovation and partnerships. “Virginia Tech’s use-inspired research portfolio holds so much promise to make positive human and economic impacts.” 

LINK + LICENSE + LAUNCH is hosting two upcoming series of workshops that have been designed provide faculty the nuts and bolts of how to transfer the tech at Virginia Tech. The workshops are free and open to Virginia Tech faculty, staff, postdoc or graduate students engaged in funded research.

“As we’ve re-examined our tech transfer model and built an integrated team through LINK + LICENSE + LAUNCH, we have received requests from faculty and graduate students to learn more about how to commercialize technology and create new enterprises,“ said Salmon. “Our goal is to meet these requests to demystify the process and promote a culture of innovation, as well as build connections among our community as we support one another through the complex process of commercialization.”

Starting Feb. 23, the LICENSE: The Center for Tech Commercialization team will host a “Tech Transfer Boot Camp” in five, one-hour weekly workshops covering key topics such as idea protection, invention disclosure, patenting, marketing, and licensing. Visit the website to enroll now, space is limited.

Additionally, starting March 15, the LAUNCH: The Center for New Ventures team will host a series of seven workshops “LAUNCH Startup Labs” about creating new technology startups from research using entrepreneurial tools and methods appropriate for the research community. Visit the website to enroll now, space is limited.

The two workshops will incorporate the basics of early-stage commercial translation of research, including answers to questions such as, “What is in a patent or license agreement and why, and how to wrestle with the many uncertainties in the creation of a startup,” said Mark Mondry, the director for LAUNCH. 

The workshops should provide a foundation of tech transfer knowledge that researchers can build on for the rest of their careers. A licensed patent attorney, Mondry knows first-hand about how to navigate the gap between new knowledge creation and early-stage commercial opportunity where discovery from research can expand its impact on the human condition. That early-stage gap is what tech transfer in a research university is all about, he said.

“The main goal of these workshops is to promote a shared understanding of the tech transfer process and new venture creation, so that we can work as partners with researchers along the path from discovery to market,” said Grant Brewer, executive director of LICENSE. “We’ll be breaking down the process, step by step, and hopefully researchers will get excited about marketing their discoveries.” 

Over the course of his 20-year career in tech transfer, Brewer has experienced tech transfer from various angles - working within tech transfer offices and by being involved with startups that achieved success through strong exits and sale revenues.  

The workshops are resources for the Virginia Tech research community and supported by Research and Innovation. In addition, the LAUNCH Startup Labs worskshops are supported in part by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative SWVA Node, an investment in the advancement of cyber research and development, innovation, and workforce development.

LICENSE Tech Transfer Bootcamp Workshop

Wednesdays, Noon – 1 p.m.

Feb. 23

March 2, 16, 23, and 30

LAUNCH Startup Labs Workshop

Tuesdays, Noon – 1 p.m.

March 15, 22, and 29 

April 5, 12, 19, and 26



Third floor of the Holtzman Alumni Center

901 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, Virginia

For questions, contact:

Carla Verbridge | 540-231-8275

Share this story