You know, I don't really feel bad for Mitt Romney. Because even thought he lost the election, he can just go back to being, well, Mitt Romney. Living the life he's always led. I often think, why can't we all live more like Mitt? Jet-setting and stuff. So I've started to think of ways in which I could acquire a lifestyle more like Mitt's.
Fortunately, I just got invited to a "brainstorming power-lunch" about how us shlumpy scientists could form partnerships with well-dressed industry folks to make mucho dinero! This one seems specifically focused to my broad area of research, and the university has invited a couple of local industry folks working in our area as well as some venture capitalists. I can understand why the uni is keen on holding such meetings, because universities can't function on indirect costs, tuition and fundraising alone, and their intellectual capital is supposedly highly marketable.
So should I start picking out my new jet and livin' la vida loca? I don't think so. I may be naive here, but I just don't see it. I don't see how any of my research make any money for anyone. Yea, I know some folks who have started companies and filed patents, and maybe some of those folks have made some extra cash from these enterprises, and yes, maybe an even smaller subset has made a not-so-insubstantial amount of money. But still, our research is so basic and far from anything immediately clinical, that I just don't see it. And it's not that I'm against this sort of stuff, the purity of science and what not. No, I would love to cash in on all our hard work, and the only way basic research can become truly translational is through such partnerships. Unless the government gets into the drug-development business. But with my research I just don't see it. Who knows, maybe these folks will illuminate me, and at the least I get a free lunch.
How about you, readers, do you often think about how you could monetize your research? Have you tried? If so have you been successful?