Original Date: 04/24/2007
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Technology Transfer
The University of New Orleans, College of Engineering created proven processes and methodologies to transfer technology developed from research projects to private entities and industries.
The University of New Orleans, College of Engineering (UNO COE) and its centers, such as the Gulf Coast Region Maritime Technology Center (GCRMTC), are not manufacturing facilities. The centers educate, research, and develop products and processes to be used in manufacturing facilities. The UNO COE, like most universities, is engaged in many research projects. These projects lead to the development of innovative and cutting-edge technologies and processes, which must be transferred to industry in the form of technology transfer to become effective tools that industry can use. The UNO COE developed methodologies and processes to effect the transfer of these research findings to the U.S. industrial base. The research conducted at the UNO COE and the GCRMTC is applied research, which from its incipience has an intended application, market, and customer base.
The GCRMTC was recently involved with three major technology transfer projects. The first was the Innovative Quotient (IQ) project. This project involved getting the U.S. shipbuilding industry to conduct a self-assessment of how it compared to truly innovative companies with regard to its ability to change. The IQ self-assessment tool was based on parameters known to be important to innovation. A meta analysis of existing literature on technology transfer and innovation developed the IQ model. This model was used to determine specific areas that needed to be assessed to measure the innovative abilities of an organization. IQ was linked to GCRMTC-developed software that was user-friendly and produced easily understandable outputs. After the group being evaluated answered the questions in the software package on innovation, the results were produced in a radar plot and used as a point of discussion with the group. The UNO COE found this dialogue to be the most informative step in the use of the IQ project. The software is now licensed to Managing Change Associates in Houston, Texas, and the UNO COE is in discussion with Top Tier, Inc., a gas and oil consulting company in Slidell, Louisiana.
The second successful technology transfer project completed by the GCRMTC was a productivity project that identified areas of improvement in the shipyard. The main result of the project was the development of a template for introducing new technologies into the shipyard through actual cases. This template consists of the three phases of adoption of new technology that include initiating, implementing, and institutionalizing. Within this context, the concept of the importance of knowing the difference between major and minor change was introduced. Handy worksheets were developed for each phase of adoption, and training was given to shipbuilders on the use of the worksheets. Through the understanding of how to implement technology and handle the related change, the reluctance to learning from others has decreased.
The third recent technology transfer project completed by the GCRMTC was the successful commercialization of the UNO COE-developed software. The significance of this project is that after all of the research, product development, beta testing and final development, the GCRMTC was able to find a viable commercial entity to take over the marketing, installation, upgrading, and support of the software. By having someone independent of the University market, install, and maintain the software, ship owners and operators have accepted the new technology that enables them to operate in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
These examples show how the UNO COE undertakes research projects with the goal of transferring the technology to industry upon completion of the research and development of the product. By doing this, the UNO COE assists industry to become more competitive by incorporating state-of-the-art processes, materials, and technologies.
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