University of Rochester

University Increases Efficiency of Moving Technology From Lab to Market

January 21, 2010

New Vice-Provost for Technology Transfer Policy and New Director of the Office of Technology Transfer Announced

The University of Rochester has created a new position—vice-provost for Technology Transfer Policy—as part of a multi-year effort to increase the number of science and engineering discoveries that can be developed by entrepreneurs and turned into technologies for the benefit of society. The Office of Technology Transfer helps translate scientific progress into tangible products, while returning income both to the inventor and to the University to support further research and education.

Gail Norris, former director of the Office of Technology Transfer for the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering, will become the new vice-provost, staying actively involved in technology commercialization.

Corine Farewell, former deputy director of the Office of Technology Transfer, has taken over as director of the office as Norris' technology transfer responsibilities broaden.

"By broadening Gail's responsibilities in tech transfer and bringing Corine into the directorship, we're enhancing our ability to commercialize the amazing research that goes on here," says Ralph Kuncl, provost and executive vice-president of the University. "We'll be more responsive to the needs of entrepreneurs than ever before."

As vice-provost, Norris helps develop strategies for the licensing and commercialization of intellectual property developed at the University, fostering corporate collaborations, and assisting in the establishment of start-up companies that use technology developed at the University.

"We're extremely fortunate to have Gail in this position," says Paul F. Slattery, dean of research for Arts, Sciences and Engineering at the University. "She has done an outstanding job in her time as director. Her incisive intelligence, knowledge of law, experience in technology-related matters, and her tremendous work ethic have had a broad impact on advancing tech transfer at the University."

Norris joined the Office of Counsel at the University of Rochester in August 2005 to assist the University with its business transactions, especially in the area of technology transfer. From 1990 until 2000, Norris was a partner in the law firm of Nixon Peabody specializing in corporate law. In 2000, she became general counsel for the U.S. operations of Celltech Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company based in the U.K., where she was responsible for all legal matters for the company's U.S. operations.

Norris is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the Association of University Technology Managers. She received her bachelor's in management from Syracuse University and her law degree from Albany Law School of Union University.

Farewell joined the University in 2007 as deputy director of the Office of Technology Transfer of the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. As director, Farewell continues to provide guidance to University researchers on all aspects of protecting and commercializing innovations of the University faculty. She also provides strategic direction for the licensing and commercialization of the University's patent portfolio.

Farewell also works with the external business community to identify technology needs and negotiate technology transfers to meet those needs.

"Corine is a natural to lead the Office of Technology Transfer," says Slattery. "She has articulated many of the exciting ways in which she plans to build upon Gail's foundation and push tech transfer into the future."

Farewell plans to grow on-campus outreach to alert both faculty members and students about the ways the University can help develop a strong intellectual property portfolio and commercialize its discoveries. For instance, for the past two years, students in the Department of Biomedical Engineering senior design class worked with the Office of Technology Transfer to protect the intellectual property generated in the class and to connect some of these projects with industry to create real products that can help society. Farewell also plans to explore novel marketing channels such as social networking and internet video to publicize to businesses the kinds of interesting and useful research developments the University has on-hand and ready to commercialize.

In collaboration with the University of Rochester Medical Center Office of Technology Transfer, a "venture capitalist in residence" program will start next month, in which a venture capitalist will be available in-house regularly to consult on the possible commercial viability of faculty members' research.

Before joining the University of Rochester, Farewell worked at the Cornell University Center of Technology Enterprise and Commercialization where she was active in technology commercialization for six years. Prior to her technology transfer roles, she performed technical services, marketing, training and development functions with scope throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for The Iams Company.

Farewell earned Bachelor of Science, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and Master of Business Administration degrees from Cornell University. She has been an invited guest speaker for both scientific and management topics throughout Europe and the U.S., including lectures at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Krouse Graduate School of Management at Syracuse University, and the North American and European Veterinary and Animal Health Industry conferences. She has served on the Alumni Association Executive Committee for the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Johnson Graduate School of Management BR Incubator Advisory Board and the campus-wide Cornell Entrepreneurship and Personal Enterprise Program.