International Collaboration Panel

Posted on February 22, 2018

On February 18-21 Foresight Science & Technology participated in the AUTM Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Phyllis Speser, Foresight’s Chair of the Board and Dr. Konstantin Izvolsky, Director of Consulting and Training were also part of the AUTM panel “International Collaboration Models for Technology Transfer” as the Moderator and Presenter respectfully. Other panel presenters included: David Ai, City University of Hong Kong, Nares Damrongchai, Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences, Shawn Hawkins, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Eliza Stefaniw, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi.

The globalization of modern economy results in the expansion of international collaboration between universities, research institutions and businesses around the world. Foresight’s own discussions with international clients emphasize the importance and growing interest in international collaboration. To address the interest of our clients in this aspect of the technology commercialization Foresight makes the introduction to the international collaboration a part of the training course on the basics of technology commercialization. Currently this training course is presented by Dr. Speser to the TTO staff and industrial liaison managers in King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Thailand.

The panel discussed the importance of considering the cultural differences and specifics in dealing with global partners. The key point, emphasized by all panelists is the importance of blending the unique cultural advantages offered by each individual country with the heavily westernized global business culture to build and maintain the efficient and productive the long-term partnerships.

One of the panelists, Dr. David Ai from City University of Hong Kong discussed the challenges in establishing working relations with Chinese businesses. It is not a secret that developing strong relations with Chinese partners is challenging due to cultural, political and economic barriers. The significant role of the government in multiple aspects of Chinese business as well as the attempts of Chinese and local governments to make the business dealing more transparent have the significant impact on technology transfer, partnership and business development. Dr. Ai emphasized the importance of strategic planning in dealing with Chinese partners as well as accurate selection of “technology champion” (usually on the local government level) capable of promoting and supporting the collaboration.

Dr. Konstantin Izvolsky from Foresight Science & Technology discussed the criteria which should be used to identify a potential commercialization partner in Life Science industry. In Foresight’s experience, the size of the partner not always indicates its willingness to cooperate and support the outside technology. Based on the analysis of interviews conducted with the experts in life science industry, Foresight was able to identify common trends supporting the notion that smaller companies may be more willing to adopt the early stage outside technologies, but it will require much more focused approach from small startups. This information can be useful for small international life science startups trying to bring their innovations to the US market.