The University of Alabama

UA Names New Director of Effort to Bring Campus Discoveries to Market Place

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama named Dr. Richard P. Swatloski director of its Office for Technology Transfer.

The appointment of Swatloski, who has worked in OTT since its establishment as a full-time office in 2006, will become effective June 1, said Dr. Joe Benson, vice president for research at UA.

“Tech Transfer has become an increasingly important aspect of what it means to be a University of Alabama researcher and innovator,” said Benson. “Rick brings both scientific expertise and an entrepreneurial spirit to this position, and I look forward to seeing him and our campus innovators move forward these efforts in ways most beneficial to the public we serve.”

Swatloski, who holds bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in chemistry from UA, served as a licensing associate in the Office for Technology Transfer from 2006 to September 2011, when he was named interim director following the death of former director Dr. Bill Gathings. Prior to joining the Capstone’s Office for Technology Transfer, or OTT, Swatloski served as a staff scientist in UA’s Center for Green Manufacturing.

OTT works with innovators to assist in bringing technologies created at the University to the commercial market place for public benefit. By helping UA inventors with things like navigating the patent process, finding funding or licensing technology to off-campus entities, the Office for Technology Transfer strives to speed the time frame from discovery to public benefit, Swatloski said.

Between fiscal years 2007 and 2011, 189 invention disclosures were submitted to the Office for Technology Transfer, resulting in the issuance of 68 patents, including 13 in the U.S., and UA has 13 active licensing agreements with external entities, according to OTT statistics.

The Office for Technology Transfer collaborates with UA’s Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneur Center, known as AIME, in efforts to assist start-up companies incubating within AIME, with an eventual goal of becoming a self-supporting, job-creating companies in the area.

In its short history, the Office for Technology Transfer’s achievements include forming partnerships, based on UA discoveries, with the chemical giant BASF and with QRxPharma, a clinical stage specialty pharmaceutical company; helping, along with AIME, UA start-up companies to successfully compete for funding in Alabama Launchpad, a statewide business plan competition; and the licensing of FreezePruf, an anti-freeze for plants that improves their cold tolerance. The spray-on formula, co-developed by a UA researcher, sold more than 10,000 units last year.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

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