There are many barriers to effective technology transfer. Awareness of these potential barriers can help increase the likelihood of success. Some of these are:
· Resistance to Change. Many good, new ideas are not accepted initially because of the basic human tendency to resist change and to resist moving outside of our own paradigms.
· Lag time. It takes many years from product conception in a research laboratory to commercialization and use, for example, there is an average lag time of 5-10 years in the United States. Often, it takes this long to develop a market for a new product. The television set, although delayed by World War II, had been around for at least 15 years before it was first used commercially. Many people thought it would never replace the beloved radio, but today many households own three or four television sets.
· Insufficient marketing. The only way the technology transfer can be accomplished is to talk about the university capabilities, make them visible, and focus on the benefits, not just the features, of cooperation to produce new technology.
· Lack of involvement by inventors. Generally, most university researchers are more comfortable at the research bench than talking with potential users about their inventions or results. But the inventors are crucial to the successful transfer of technology. The inventors offer "know-how" and technical expertise that cannot be replicated by anyone else, and they need to be involved in the marketing and demonstration process. Inventors make the best champions for research developments.
· Lack of trust in working with universities. The private sector would like to work with researchers in a protected environment. There should be ways to protect proprietary information brought to the activity by the company such as trade secrets or company data. In addition, the private sector may not trust the universities to deliver on promises made during collaborative activities. Technology transfer laws should help eliminate these problems.