Overall, the survey found that 40 of the 45 institutions responding used entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology-based economic development activities in promotion and tenure decisions, with 26 indicating the activities could be considered across any area. While no respondents indicated that these activities were “very important” in determining faculty advancement, 21 percent indicated they were “important” and 59 percent of respondents rated the activities as “somewhat important.” Tech transfer was most commonly used as part of the tenure and promotion process in STEM fields, led by biological and biomedical sciences (79 percent), engineering (64 percent), and computer and information sciences (64 percent).
Ultimately, the task force makes five recommendations:
- Policy statements should acknowledge the merit of technology transfer as part of the university’s work, with safeguards against conflicts of interest or commitment.
- Technology transfer activities should be explicitly included among the criteria relevant for promotion and tenure, at the university, college, and department levels, as appropriate to the disciplines.
- Technology transfer activities should be an optional component of the review process, one that will be rewarded when present, but not seen as a requirement for everyone.
- Recognizing the unique character of technology transfer, the criteria should be flexible to encompass high-quality work in many forms of creative expression.
- Technology transfer activities should be evaluated for intellectual contribution and expected social benefit consistent with the accepted process of peer review and without reliance on artificial metrics.