Feet First into the KEC Community

Thoughts and reflections from Dr. Noelle Gracy, Elsevier who shares her experiences from attending our Fundamentals of Technology Transfer course


Feet First into the KEC Community

Fundamentals of Technology Transfer was my first interaction with PraxisAuril.  I’d joined as a member last year and used the guides and templates, but I honestly wasn’t sure if there would be much relevant for me in a Fundamentals of Technology Transfer course. 

For a start, I’m working on the industry side.  Would all the attendees be from academia?  Would I be viewed as an interloper? 

Second, I’ve been in my role as Head of the Research Collaboration Office for more than two years.  Would Fundamentals be too fundamental?  The fact that I was tasked with starting the RCO from scratch with no experience in the field should have hinted that, no, a Fundamentals course is exactly where I should start. 

Third, I don’t really do Technology Transfer.  My team handles research collaborations and data licenses for academic projects, but not sexy things like patents or spin outs or Innovation-Valorization-Enterprise-Engines.  It’s small potatoes compared to some of these big universities.  And, by the way, the money is all flowing the other direction.  I’m managing projects that COST money, time and data; the RCO is certainly not a revenue generating unit.  And, just to note, by “team” I mean me.  I work with colleague-researchers and lawyers and all kinds of lovely folks, but the RCO=me.


So let’s just say I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The community:  I don’t think PraxisAuril generally hands out an epiphany with every course completion, but I texted home at the end of the first day “I have found my people!” I hadn’t actually known that Knowledge Exchange was a real profession.  I hadn’t known that there were actually teams of people who do what I do, and who had already solved many of my problems. 

Everyone at the course was new to the field, and so there was no sense of trying to break into a clique.  All the conversations were open, and for the first time, maybe ever, I felt entirely comfortable walking to a group of people talking and just joining in.  I knew they’d welcome me, and I knew they’d be talking about something I wanted to know about.

The content:  So, the community and the people alone would have been worth the experience.  But I walked away with very practical advice, very implementable plans and a contract example full of notes that I still refer to.   It was three of the most interactive and informative days I’ve ever spent professionally.  We never sat at the same table twice, we interacted throughout, we had a mix of lectures and exercises, and the teachers were passionate, knowledgeable and extremely approachable.  The panel discussion with real industry partners was a highlight.

The results:  I continue to use the materials and the experience I gained.  I’m starting my career plan, so I can apply for RTTP Candidacy.  I’ve Linked In with 21 real live Knowledge Exchange experts directly because of the course, and I’ve rung up several just to ask for advice.  Because yes, I needed the Fundamentals of Technology Transfer course, and yes, I’m now part of the Knowledge Exchange community.   


Sign up for the next Fundamentals of Technology Transfer course 9-12 Oct 2018.


Dr. Noelle Gracy, Head of the Academic Collaboration Office, ELSEVIER Research Networks