The Technology Transfer Office at MSU has collaborated with faculty, researchers, and universities, and partnered with industry to achieve the following:

  • 600+ technologies managed;
  • 400+ patents, PVP's, trademarks, and copyrights issued;
  • 700+ IP agreements completed; and
  • 60+ company start ups and spin-outs.

The Technology Transfer  Office pursues three primary goals:

  • Establishing collaborations and working relationships between industry and each of the research and creative areas of MSU. This includes pursuing industry sponsored research and collaborating on commercial opportunities.
  • Licensing the inventions of MSU faculty and researchers to industry and managing the relationship between the University and its licensee partners.
  • Serving the economic development arm of the University and working with Montana companies and entrepreneurs to leverage the resources of MSU to the benefit of Montana's economy.

Industry sponsored research funding successes through MSU TTO

Over the past year, the MSU Technology Transfer Office (TTO) has been instrumental in generating research collaboration agreements between MSU faculty and leading companies. These agreements have ranged in size from $20,000 to $400,000 and cover time scales from 6 months to multiple years. While the primary goal of the TTO is to protect and license the intellectual property generated by the faculty, often the inventions disclosed by faculty to the TTO are too early in development to attract licensing interest. One of the best alternatives in this case is to generate interest from a company in collaborating with the investigator on further development of the research. Additionally, industry funding can fill a need when government funding is no longer a good fit as is the case when efforts are shifted away from research towards development.

The TTO has an established process to work with investigators interested in collaborating with industry. The office creates an ideal list of prospective companies and puts together a non-confidential overview of the collaboration opportunity including the specific value of the partnership to a company. Then, the companies are approached for interest. If initial results are positive, calls, emails and other interaction may lead to the development of a scope of work, budget and funding.

Recent activity with MSU researchers leading to funded sponsored research activities include:

  • Kevin McPhee, Plant Sciences & Plant Pathology
  • Blake Wiedenheft, Immunology & Microbiology
  • Joe Shaw, Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • John Sheppard, Computer Science
  • David Sands, Plant Sciences & Plant Pathology
  • Stephen Sofie, Mechanical Engineering
  • Frances Lefcort, Cell Biology and Neuroscience
  • Garrett Moraski, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Bob Peterson, Land Resources & Environmental Sciences


The TTO welcomes the opportunity to talk to all faculty about the possibility of seeking industry support for MSU research initiatives. Contact Daniel Juliano at x7483