ITTC: A crossing platform for community and industry
Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre (ITTC) – an essential component of the innovation system in the Sultanate and one of SQU’s 14 research centers – has come about in response to the need for expansion in innovation-related areas and activities, which is a strategic policy adopted by developed countries.
SQU’s Strategic Plan (2016-2040) underlines the importance of creating an autonomous entity to expand support for innovators and encourage innovation among young Omanis in various fields, in line with a vision for leadership in innovation management and technology transfer locally and regionally.
The Centre aims to increase awareness about the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship for national sustainable development, provide a stronger link between market needs and research and innovation outputs, and offer a creative, interactive and supportive physical space where young people can learn about and engage in various aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship. It also aims to build networks of innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, business leaders, and potential financers, and contribute to the commercialization of innovation-driven projects in order to generate spin-offs and establish national companies based on science and technology.
The Centre promotes and facilitates a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the Sultanate and the region, by adopting the best practices in supporting the translation of research findings into value-added services and products. This would contribute to the nation’s social and economic development by providing a platform in which young Omanis can engage in and learn about every aspect of innovation and entrepreneurship activities.
The ITTC consists of four sections: First, The Intellectual Property Section, which deals with the following functions: drafting patent applications and conducting continuous meetings with inventors about revisions and feedback on drafting claims and technical descriptions; delivering training programs on IP and licensing in coordination with the Section of Programs and Professional Development; running the potential IP assets of the University; filing documents related to invention disclosures, patent applications, copyright applications, and related invoices; preparing and managing Non-Disclosure Agreements with any third party for research projects, pending patents, and invention disclosures.
The Incubation and Prototype Development Section is in charge of managing the virtual incubation programs at SQU, offering seed funding for innovative projects in R&D or proof of concept or prototype development and progress follow-up, liaising with the stakeholders outside SQU to facilitate providing acceleration programs and business incubation for graduated incubates, providing logistic and technical support for innovators to conduct feasibility studies, and conducting specialized training workshops on companies' finance and administration skills.
The Industrial Linkages and Licensing Section is dedicated to serve a number of duties, especially in relation to major funded projects and commercialization. They include: organizing industrial linkage events, like technology showcase days and forums; holding meetings with potential industry/government partners and investors; seeking licensing opportunities in the market locally and globally for new inventions; conducting negotiation meetings with potential licensees/partners; engaging in pre-incubator and virtual incubator management in cooperation with partners inside and outside the Centre.
The Programs and Professional Development Section serves the following: conducting training sessions in specialized technology and IP issues; preparing awareness tools like booklets, leaflets, online interactive educational tools in innovation and entrepreneurship; providing outreach to SQU community and to the wider community in innovation, IP and technology transfer related issues; providing mentorship to advise innovators and entrepreneurs; organizing awareness events in innovation and entrepreneurship for the community; promoting capabilities and research expertise through exhibitions and technology showcases for various stakeholders; developing and managing the Centre’s website, social media presence and databases related to innovation capabilities, IP assets and technology showcases for industry; and supervising the student innovation and entrepreneurship group.