Anne Marie Bjørgo and Helle Thorsen of Inven2 and Kristin Jørstad of NTNU Technology Transfer have been prime movers for the FORNY project Legal focus group. In 2018, they organised three national gatherings to raise competence among the employees of TTOs in various fields:
- Public funding and innovative procurements
- Intellectual Property Rights when founding a business
- Legal issues relating to health data, artificial intelligence and big data
“We see every day that there is a need for competence raising in law among all employees. That is why we initiated this national project. To put it another way, things can quickly get expensive if the legal aspects of a case are not right,” says Helle Thorsen, lawyer at Inven2.
Thorsen, Bjørgo and Jørstad are all lawyers and have long experience of corporate law and research-based industry. Together, they have developed work packages on the three topics that have been very practical and project oriented.
The TTOs in Norway, for example, will see a major increase in the number of projects in health data and at the intersection between big data and artificial intelligence going forward.
“These are research fields where Norway has an advantage because of our health registers and unique biobanks. It is therefore important that we are at the forefront and that we build the necessary internal competence in the TTOs,” says Bjørgo.
Continuation in the cards
Thorsen and Bjørgo say that the participants at the seminars have given excellent feedback.
“The participants report that this is important competence raising. We managed to establish a good atmosphere at all the gatherings and have formed the basis for important discussions about the issues the project managers encounter in their work,” says Bjørgo.
“We want to continue this work going forward and hope to see new opportunities for applying for FORNY funding for further initiatives. Since more TTOs are being established at the new universities, there will also be more demand for legal competence,” says Thorsen.
Bjørgo points out that there are few seminars and conferences that sufficiently address legal challenges among TTOs.
“In many ways, a TTO operates within a very narrow field and there are few conferences that can contribute to relevant competence-raising for TTO employees. It has therefore been useful and not least important to work on these legal seminars on the different topics,” say Bjørgo and Thorsen.