Commercialization Overview

The Office of Commercialization and Economic Development (OCED) supports the achievement of UNC’s mission by facilitating the process by which new discoveries lead to useful products benefiting society, attracting industry research collaboration, and stimulating local and regional economic development. We accomplish these objectives by evaluating, protecting, marketing and licensing all types of UNC discoveries and related intellectual property to both private sector partners and startup companies. OCED typically handles approximately 150 novel discoveries yearly, generating over 60 patent filings, 40 license agreements and 5-10 startup companies.

OCED Internship Overview

The OCED internship program is an eight-month position for graduate students and/or post-doctoral fellows who wish to learn more about intellectual property and technology commercialization. The internship runs during the academic year, from August to May, and requires a commitment of approximately 8-12 hours per week. Interns will participate in a formal training series covering the basics of technology transfer, conduct market assessments and direct marketing efforts for select technologies, and gain exposure to ongoing negotiations between OCED and industry partners.

OCED Training Series

Beginning in September, we offer a monthly series of internal training sessions for interns, new OCED employees and visiting technology transfer professionals. These sessions, which last from two to three hours, cover essential topics in the technology transfer profession: Technology Transfer and Public Policy, Intellectual Property Basics, Patent License Anatomy, Negotiating License Terms, Startup Company Basics, Confidentiality and Material Transfer Agreements, and Sponsored Research Agreements.

OCED Market Analyses

One of the critical roles of our office is to perform market assessments of promising UNC technologies. OCED interns will compile analyses of the market and competitive landscapes pertinent to key technologies. These in-depth reviews help OCED and UNC researchers analyze the commercial potential of UNC inventions. These reviews are also used by OCED licensing staff to prioritize technologies for corporate partners.

Ongoing Negotiations

A key role of OCED is to negotiate license agreements between UNC and our industry partners. A license agreement is a vehicle by which UNC allows a commercial third party to practice under patent rights, to use tangible property, or to practice under copyrights owned by UNC. In return, UNC is generally compensated through a mixture of upfront and downstream financial payments, in addition to other non-financial consideration. The majority of OCED’s activities are performed with the eventual goal of transferring UNC technology to the commercial sector via a license agreement. OCED interns will be invited to participate in key license agreement negotiation sessions, gaining valuable exposure to these complicated transactions.

OCED Internship Requirements

Potential interns must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Associated with UNC as either a student or post-doctoral fellow
  • Strong technical or legal background
  • Commit to 10 hours of work a week, at least five of which will be at OCED
  • Commit to the entire 8- to 12-month program
  • Have internship approved by current Principal Investigator (if applicable)

For More Information

Currently, OCED accepts three to four interns per year, with internships beginning in August. To apply for an internship, or to inquire further about the program, please contact:

Peter Liao
Commercialization Manager
Office of Commercialization and Economic Development
peter.liao@unc.edu

Application Process

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to the contact listed above.