A Nurse Leading Technology Transfer
Historically, technology transfer, which involves technical knowledge on intellectual property protection and eventual utilisation or commercialization, is usually associated with technical professionals, not with nurses. Since January 2019, the Director of Technology Transfer at the University of the Philippines, Manila, is a doctoral prepared nurse leader, Dr Lourdes Tejero.
Professor Tejero is a pediatric nurse, and holds a PhD in Nursing, Master’s degree in Translational Medicine (MTM), and bioengineering, clinical therapeutics, and business education. As Director of Technology Transfer, she manages more than 100 inventions coming from the faculty, researchers and students. Her portfolio includes medicines, biomedical devices and information technology for health.
Dr. Tejero and a team composed of engineers, lawyers and business people, process the technology transfer of these intellectual properties. The team advises the inventors on patentability of the innovation based on patent research and technical features of the innovation. They complete patent applications, manage trademarks and copyrights on behalf of the university. For the use of the intellectual property (IP) by the intended beneficiaries and for a greater population to be reached, commercialization is undertaken. Prof. Tejero and team initiate linkages with public and private agencies for funding of research, as well as with industry partners for licensing and other modes of business collaboration. Partnerships have been established with local pharmaceutical industries, as well as with agencies in other countries, such as India and Japan.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, engineers and clinicians at the University hospital found ways to help alleviate the medical challenges posed by COVID-19, working on the different devices needed in the care of COVID patients. Dr. Tejero’s team assisted in the patent search reports, IP protection, pitching to potential industry partners, conducting online training faculty members, researchers and students. Professor Tejero uses her nursing leadership expertise to effectively manage the IPs as dealing with business partners. and most importantly her unit colleagues.
From the three-person office she started, her team has increased to more than a dozen to handle over 100 IPs in the portfolio. From March 2020, the staff have worked remotely, so Dr Tejero holds regular online “huddles” to discuss plans, outputs, concerns, and stress management. In the midst of the pandemic, the number of patent applications increased by 200%, and several business agreements with local and foreign companies were also achieved.