Kirkland named ISURF director

Abbie Moeller

The new director of the Iowa State University Research Foundation (ISURF) and the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (OIPTT) said his background will be the key to success in his new position.

Kenneth Kirkland was recently appointed director. He is currently the director of the Technology Commercialization Office at Northern Illinois University.

“I think I bring a lot to the position with my background,” Kirkland said. He said he has had experience working in the corporate world, as well as within universities.

Patricia Swan, vice provost for research and advanced studies at ISU, said she is pleased that Kirkland accepted the job.

“Kenneth was selected both for his long and strong experience in technology transfer in industry, especially his experience in international transfer and his experience in developing educational material for a university,” she said.

Kirkland previously worked overseas with agricultural chemicals and the acquisitions and licensing of these products, as well as with research universities.

“I was on the other side of the fence to where I am now,” he said.

Kirkland said he thinks it is very important to have knowledge on both sides of the complicated issue of technology transfer and invention and product patenting and licensing.

“Having a commercial background is very important when working at a university,” Kirkland said. He said knowing the philosophies of both sides is imperative.

Kirkland said his new job will involve many responsibilities, from managing an annual budget and nine professional staff members to evaluating inventions and dealing with corporations to protect against infringement of patents.

“[I will be] protecting university intellectual property and … overseeing the whole operation of the OIPTT and ISURF,” Kirkland said.

He said he will be dealing with the corporations and companies who are interested in new technology and inventions produced at ISU.

Kirkland said it is a confusing business because inventions must be evaluated and deals negotiated with interested companies. It involves figuring the worth of new products, deciding if royalties will be used and finding out whether or not the company wants exclusive rights to a technology or invention, he said.

“A lot of different activities go under this umbrella,” he said.

Kirkland said he is excited to come to ISU because it is a bigger program than he has been working with, and it will be more of a challenge. He also said it will offer him new opportunities.

“I am very impressed by the support given to technology transfer at ISU,” he said. “There is such a variety and depth of research.”

Kirkland also said the size and reputation of the program impressed him.

“[The reputation] really attracted me,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland said he will be moving to Ames in three weeks after attending a regional meeting of the Association of University Technology Managers in Minnesota. He said the association has members not only in universities but also from industry, giving it a well-rounded, informative atmosphere.

“I’ll be handing out my new business cards,” he said.