Careers involving intellectual property, innovation and technology transfer



Whether you have an idea and want to start your own enterprise, are thinking about joining an early stage organization, or want to explore career options around innovation, it helps to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. Many PhDs have gone on to discover fulfilling roles in intellectual property, technology transfer, licensing, entrepreneurship, and as intrapreneurs in large companies to do social good and make an enhanced impact on the world. Explore courses and workshops in business and management to develop your skills in this field to help you make an informed choice for if this pathway is for you.

Entrepreneurial Resources at Cornell

Sign up to learn about opportunities and startup updates via the Cornell Entrepreneurship listserv. Graduate students interested in entrepreneurship, technology licensing and other related intellectual property careers should consult The Startup Guide. Entrepreneurship at Cornell partnered with Wilmer Hale to create a Startup Launch Liftoff with Legal 101 for Entrepreneurs booklet.

Creating a Business Pitch

First, consult the communication resources so you have the basics and have practiced explaining your research to broad audiences convincingly. The chances of getting your idea or business plan funded largely depends on how effectively you communicate your product potential with investors.

The following resources can help you perfect your pitch and tell a convincing story about your startup.

Canaan Pitch Workbook - Canaan partners, a venture capital firm, has put together an actionable guide to help entrepreneurs to clearly communicate their business idea.

How to Perfect Your Pitch - is a slide deck created by Guy Kawasaki, the author of thirteen (business) books including "Art of the Start."

Three Minute Thesis Competition - tips for drafting, visualizing and presenting your research with nothing but  one slide and three minutes.

Idea Generation: Books

The following "business idea generation" books are recommended and are located in the ILR Library.

Idea Generation: Tools

Breaking into Venture Capital Roles

Biotech venture capital firms occasionally offer fellowships. Check this base to see which companies currently offer fellowships.

Need funding to take your business plan to the next level?

Check out on management library website's How do I find information about venture capital?

Learn all you need to about raising the first round of funding from Harvard i-lab skill share class "Mastering the VC Game: How to Raise Your First Round of Capital" with Jeff Bussgang (senior business lecturer at Harvard Business School).

Explore the databases at the Johnson Management Library:

Q&A Business Basics

What are the qualities of an entrepreneur? How do I know if I am cut out to be an entrepreneur?

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has defined eight qualities of entrepreneurs that you can learn and explore. There are many types of entrepreneurs including intrapreneurs (who work within a larger organization), solopreneurs (who strike out on their own) and side hustlers (who continue to rely on a 'day job'), as Calvin Gladney has described, that fit with your comfort level of assumed risk and desire to do all the 'run your own business' stuff (like accounting, billing, HR, marketing, etc.). Think your'e not an entrepreneur? Think again!

What does an entrepreneur do? When does an entrepreneur sleep?

A classical entrepreneur creates a new firm, often focusing on newer products or innovative services that fill a gap for their customers. They don't really-it's a time consuming job.

What is the difference between a start-up and a small business?

Start-ups dream of being the next Google whereas small businesses may want to stay small-the latter are often called 'lifestyle companies'. 

How do you fund a new idea? Sources of funding to get you started include yourself, your friends and family (sometimes called 'triple F' for 'friends, family and fools'), business competitions, small internal or regional grants, or small business innovation research (SBIR) grants to help you develop a prototype and proof of concept. As the business grows, often startups seek 'dilutive' private equity funding in partnership with investors that will also provide advice and mentorship.

What is venture capital (VC) and how is it different than private equity (PE)?

Private equity consists of capital that is not listed on a public exchange. Venture capital is a type of private equity that focuses on start-ups. Venture capital funding comes in rounds. Seed or angel investing happens in the very early stages of a firm to get it off the ground. If needed, additional rounds of investing series A, series B, C, D, and so on help the firm to become larger and closer to exit via an initial public offering (IPO) or acquisition. (See Investopedia article on Private Equity)

More information on researching venture capital is available on the library website.

Cornell provides a subscription to Nature Masterclasses. All Cornell students, faculty, and staff can take any courses available through Nature Masterclasses including Scientific Writing and Publishing; Finding Funding Opportunities; Data Analysis; Networking for Researchers; and more. You must register your account using your Cornell email address.

Careers Beyond Academia Mentors

Inform yourself about how others incorporate entrepreneurial ideas into their current roles. Click on their profiles to see their career trajectories and reach out to those whose interest and experiences overlap with your aspirations. Other places for you to network include entrepreneurship events, CUeLINKS, and of course, LinkedIn. Get out of your comfort zone and meet people who have taken the next step and can share advice.

  • Scott Allen, R&D Director, Aramco Performance Materials, previously Co-Founder and Vice President for Catalyst Development, Novomer (Cornell PhD '04)
  • Bob Balk, previously at Boeing, Pier 70 Ventures, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at High Tech Rochester and paraolympian medalist
  • Jaime Benitez, Staff Scientist, Pacific Biosciences (Cornell PhD '10)
  • Cameron Bardliving, Director, Pilot Plant Facility, Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing (NSF I-CORPS, Agave BioSystems; Cornell alumnus)
  • Craig Beil, Project Manager, Nature Source Improved Plants (NSIP)
  • Mindy Bickel, Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • Hayden Brainard, Partner, Miller Meyer Attorneys at Law
  • Richard Cahoon, President BioProperty Strategy Group, formerly Director of Tech Transfer at Cornell University (PhD'07 Natural Resources)
  • Amelia Cine, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Applied Molecular Transport
  • Randolph Clower, Patent/IP Attorney
  • Madeleine (Bee) DiGregorio, GC-MS Product Specialist at Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (PhD'19 Food Science)
  • Al Di Rienzo, President, Co-founder, CIO, One Health Group
  • Matthew Einsohn, entrepreneur, finder of funding, and coach for telling your story
  • Nicole Fay, Consultant; previously Research Scientist, Applied Molecular Transport
  • Adam Fisher, Chemical Engineer (Science & Research staff), Office of Pharmaceutical Quality, FDA (Co-Founder, Glycobia; Cornell alumnus)
  • Dan Frank, Senior Sales Representative, VWR International
  • Greg Galvin, CEO & Chairman, Rheonix (Cornell alumnus)
  • Yue Geng, Head of Asia Pacific at Berkeley Lights, Inc., previously at ThermoFisher, STEMCELL Technologies, InSphero, BioDuro (Cornell alumna)
  • Elysa Goldberg, Associate Director/Patent Attorney, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Cornell alumna)
  • Kent Goklen, Glaxo Smith Kline
  • William Greener, Partner, Klintworth & Rozenblat IP
  • George Grills, Director of Core Laboratories and Shared Research Resources at Augusta University
  • Michelle Haven, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Zoetis
  • Ronda Hamm, Global Academic Relations, Dow AgroSciences
  • Bethany Hills, Partner, Chair FDA Practice at Mintz Levin
  • Nicholas Horton, Scientist at Exponent in Menlo Park, CA, a consulting firm (Cornell PhD '17)
  • Andrea Katherine Ippolito, Executive Director, Engineering Management Program, Cornell (Cornell MENG '07) 
  • Joseph Krause, founder ScientistPlus, investor at AlleyCorp
  • John Jaquette, retired, former Director of Entrepreneurship@Cornell
  • Colin Jermain, Lead Data Scientist at Vectra AI (PhD'17 Physics)
  • Rami Katz, Chief Operations Officer, Excell Partners, Inc.
  • Karen Kindle, Science Communication Consultant, self-employed, formerly VP Research BTI (BS'73 Biochem)
  • Fernando F. Migone, Head of Customer Success, DefinedCrowd Corp (PhD'15 BME)
  • Debra Moesch, Program Director, Entrepreneurship@Cornell Internship Program Director (Cornell alumna)
  • John Nesheim, Founder, Nesheim Online (MBA'67)
  • Bobby Nijjar, Life Sciences Consultant, Accenture (MS BME)
  • John Parker, Director, Cornell Leadership Program for Veterinary Students, Associate Professor of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Mitchell Pender Strategy Manager, Corning Inc. (PhD'19 BME)
  • Michael Roach, J. Thomas and Nancy W. Clark Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Cornell University Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Gabriel Rodríguez-Calero, CEO, Ecolectro (PhD'14 Chem)
  • Kirk Samaroo, President & Founder, Dynamic Boundaries, Inc. (PhD'15 MechE)
  • Anne Schneiderman, Partner, Harris Beach PLLC (retired 2019)
  • Zach Shulman, Director, Entrepreneurship@Cornell and VC (BS'90)
  • Wes Sine, Faculty Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations, Johnson School of Management, Cornell University (PhD'00 ILR)
  • Rajni Singh, Consumer Safety Officer at FDA (PhD'12, Molecular and Integrative Physiology)
  • Gregory Slack, Sr. Director of Scientific Research and Services at Boston Analytical, formerly Dir. of Research and Tech Transfer at Clarkson University
  • Jordan Smith, Talent Acquisitions Manager for ASM (semiconductor industry)
  • Erin Stephens, Director of Tissue Engineering at Prellis Biologics, Inc. (PhD'18 BMCB)
  • Mingchee Tan, Formulation Scientist at GenEdit (PhD'15 BME)
  • Oded Spindel, Senior Vice President Investment Banking at Rodman & Renshaw (a unit of H.C. Wainwright & Co. LLC) in NYC
  • Jenny (Baker) Valentine, Staff Scientist at Regeneron
  • Richard von Stein, Director, Product Safety, L'Oréal (PhD'11 ETox)
  • Patrick Sturges, CCRP, Medical Advisor Researcher, Sanofi (MS'08 BMCB)
  • Amanda Weyerbacher, Senior Principal, inThought Research (PhD '09 Pharmacology)
  • Kenneth Yancey, Director, Downstream Purification, University of Pennsylvania (PhD '17 BEE)
  • Jingwen Zhang, Associate Principal Scientist, AstraZeneca (PhD'13 Pharmacology)
  • Nikolay Zhelev, Senior Research Scientist, Corning Incorporated (PhD '16 Physics)
  • X. Sheryl Zhou, Founder, M Square Investment (PhD '09 Biomedical Sciences, MBA '13)