A compass sits on a page of financial information.

New faces in Miami’s tech transfer and commercialization community

A slide rule used to calculate flight paths.

Two new members of the Miami University community are helping guide Miami as it charts a course for the future university and business collaboration, with a focus on inclusive innovation. We introduce them here.

David M. M. Taffet

Executive in Residence for Inclusive Innovation and Commercialization, Miami University

David M.M. Taffet has a career spanning law, investment banking, private equity, not-for-profits, turnarounds, buy-outs, management, retail, and real estate.

He worked his way through college and law school and has built his own businesses, meeting the payroll needs of hundreds of employees. He has raised close to half a billion dollars of debt and equity on behalf of his own and others’ ventures. He has evaluated the merits of others’ ventures, turned others’ enterprises around, and worked internationally in varied industries with geographically-dispersed operations.

“I have enjoyed the real-world experience essential to assuming leadership positions not with a sense of entitlement, but rather with a healthy appreciation of the work ethic and personal sacrifice necessary to complete the small things that prove fundamental in accomplishing great things,” Taffet says.

Earlier this year, Taffet was selected as Miami University’s first executive-in-residence in the area of inclusive innovation and commercialization. Taffet’s accomplishments in this position include the following:

  • An agreement between Miami University and the Wright Brothers Institute of Dayton, an entity that assists the U.S. Air Force Research Lab with technology transfer, interactions with the community, workforce development, and innovation. This collaboration created the Miami University-AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator and gives Miami support in reviewing and accessing the lab’s entire open portfolio of over 1,000 patents and patent applications.
  • A successful joint submission by Miami and the University of Dayton to the Ohio Third Frontier that resulted in $200,000 in state matching funds awarded for the creation of a technology validation and start-up fund (TVSF). The TVSF will invest in advancing technologies at both institutions that can be further developed into products by startups and other young companies in Ohio.
  • An agreement between Miami and the University of Dayton to share technology transfer services. The agreement provides more efficient services in Southwest Ohio by leveraging resources of the University of Dayton to provide support for patent exploration and other areas of development and commercialization for Miami research.

Matt Willenbrink

Director of Technology Partnerships Office, University of Dayton Research Institute

As part of the shared services agreement between Miami and the University of Dayton, Matt Willenbrink is now the point-of-contact for technology transfer at Miami.

For the past decade, Willenbrink has been the director University of Dayton Research Institute’s Technology Partnerships Office, where he negotiates research-related contracts (including license agreements), intellectual property matters and other legal matters. Prior to earning his MBA and JD, Willenbrink worked as a biochemist in industry.

Willenbrink’s office provides the following services to researchers from both the University of Dayton and Miami University:

  • Support in securing industrial sponsorship for research projects;
  • Development of appropriate research agreements with industry to protect institutional intellectual property rights;
  • Handling of intellectual property issues in government and industrial contracts;
  • Commercial development of inventions to generate royalty income from licenses to support the technology commercialization program and university research programs;
  • Support to obtain patents on university inventions and to license university technology to outside companies.

University of Dayton Research Institute’s technology commercialization program has been successful in developing and commercializing inventions such as phase change materials, the RULER and COAT (smart dipstick) technology, Autodamp/Autobeam software, material analysis and testing software (MATE), and advanced polymer materials.

Compass image by freeGraphicToday via Pixabay. Flight computer image by Duke via Wikimedia Commons. Both used under Creative Commons license.

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