The University of Houston joined many top-ranked universities this year with the launch of a new internship program focused on technology transfer.
Created to educate students about careers in technology transfer, intellectual property law, business, entrepreneurship and investment in academia and industry, the UH program provides students with an excellent opportunity to assist with marketing, industry relations and programmatic development for activities at the UH Technology Bridge.
“Technology transfer is an emerging field at the intersection of science and business,” said Brian Shedd, Ph.D., director of technology commercialization. “This program gives students practical experience in applying what they learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios.”
The UH Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation (OTTI) selected three interns out of more than 200 applicants to participate in a rotational program that exposes the students to the University’s technology transfer pipeline, including technology commercialization, startup development and industry ventures.
Two students from the UH Law Center, Farid Rajkotwala and Tim Hsu, were selected for the program. Each worked on projects related to UH’s intellectual property portfolio. While Hsu will take the state bar in July and begin work at a Dallas law firm doing patent prosecution, Rajkotwala will be returning to the team as an intern in the fall.
“This program has been valuable to me because it has provided me new insight into the legal field I am focusing on while in law school,” said Rajkotwala. “My involvement with OTTI has been enlightening as we were given hands-on educational opportunities to work with licensing (an aspect of IP law and business) and marketing (of general importance throughout any field) technologies developed by UH researchers. Involvement in this program also provided me opportunities to learn about the back-ends of USPTO and other online tools/search engines as they relate to patent law.”
Murtaza Eski from the UH College of Technology was the third student selected to the inaugural class of interns. He worked on a project to map Technology Bridge operations to increase efficiency and alignment between departments. He also contributed to data verification for the TECH Map project, a map of Houston innovation ecosystem that is now expanding nationally.
“We are really proud of these students and what this program has to offer,” said Shedd. “Tech transfer offices tend to be understaffed – there’s a great amount of work to do. So having great interns join our team allows us to expand what we’re able to market, so it’s very beneficial to us as well.”
The program is built to support four students. With Rajkotwala returning in the fall, OTTI has openings for three additional interns, which should be open soon for students to apply via Cougar Pathway.
“Over the next couple years, our plan is to expand the internship program to 6-8 interns to increase the opportunities for students to have more direct involvement with the incubator/accelerator programs, engage with our leaders as part of the mentoring network, and working with our industry ventures team to engage corporate and industry partners,” said Chris Taylor, executive director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation. “This will help to create career opportunities for them based on their interests and passion as part of our strategic goal to help 500 students find internships or jobs in industry every year.”