A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Tech Transfer Specialist Promotes Inventions

September 24, 2013

Office of Technology Transfer Administrative Officer Sonal Gadre has been with UC Merced since 2012. She and her husband, Anand, and their daughter moved here when he accepted a job as director of the stem cell foundry. He previously worked at SUNY, Albany, N.Y., so coming here has been a big change in many ways.

What does your current job entail?

I wear multiple hats: administrator, risk-management coordinator, patent and technology researcher, department budget handler, social-media marketer, website editor and technology transfer personnel.

Each day, I rely on the skills I developed as a technology transfer professional at UC Merced. The most critical skill is learning about new topics quickly. I work with many different labs and professors who tackle a range of scientific topics — including many that I did not have expertise in when I took this job.

Since joining UC Merced, I have spent much of my time reviewing documents such as material transfer agreements and nondisclosure agreements, which define the terms of scientific collaborations of one sort or another. Negotiating the framework for collaborations requires patience, diplomacy and tact.

Another part of my job is publishing “Inventions,” an annual book that highlights our research and innovations. Being able to write for both scientific and nonscientific audiences is another critical skill for tech transfer.

Coming from a business and communication background, it is a challenge to write for scientific and non-scientific audiences, but I enjoy working with the faculty.

What new initiatives/projects/plans are you looking forward to in the upcoming year?

The immediate project I am working on is “Inventions,” the book that highlights UC Merced research and innovations. Ever since joining UC Merced, I feel a need to promote OTT to the outside world. 

Through various social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, I have been trying to reach our communities. It is an ongoing project that may be slow but will be successful.

I would like to shoot a fun short film on OTT with our inventors that would be uploaded to YouTube and attract audiences.

I strive to learn more about patents, intellectual property, licensing and I am always identifying courses, webinars and lectures by organizations such as Association of University Technology Managers, NCET2 and UC Office of the President.

Our inventors are faculty members, post-graduate students and staff members. They are our customers, and we need to provide excellent customer service. I try to develop good relations with them so they are encouraged to disclose their inventions.

What are some of the most rewarding things about your job?

I am a people person and love to communicate with lawyers, inventors, faculty members, colleagues and students.

There is always a lot to learn professionally and personally. You end up fostering synergic relations. I am always happy when a negotiation is successful and especially when I overcome a negotiation challenge. I like the fact that our sister campuses, organizations and industry folks find me as the go-to-person for our tech-transfer office.

I like to take advantage of meetings and conferences at AUTM, MTA forums, and UCOP’s IP manager’s meetings, and incorporate what I learn in my work.

My most genuine interest is to learn about the research conducted at UC Merced, and I do that by meeting with faculty to discuss their technologies.

What are some things about you that other people in campus might not know?

I was a filmmaker by profession before joining UC Merced. I shot two short films when I was studying for my master’s at film school, and have worked on feature films and daily soaps.

I developed interest in tech transfer when I was introduced to it while getting my MBA.

After getting married and coming to the United States, I stayed at home until my daughter turned 5, and I got a business degree while at home.

I love to travel and cook, and I plan to pursue my hobbies of jewelry designing and writing.

Mottos I live by: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes — you will — but be sure to learn from them. Develop a sense of humor. Ask lots of questions.