Ever since the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which allows universities, federally funded research labs, and small businesses to own and patent inventions discovered in federally funded research programs, the profession of commercializing research has been growing and changing. Technology transfer managers help shepherd an idea conceived by scientists in academia or government research centers to commercialization in the private sector. They deal with evaluating discoveries for commercial potential, patenting and licensing commercial rights, and brokering deals with potential investors. Professionals in this area are employed at universities, medical centers, federal research labs, and in industry.

The job market right now for scientists or anyone with the right experience and credentials to enter technology transfer is "terrific," says James Severson, president of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and president of the Cornell Research Foundation, the technology transfer unit for Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "I think this reflects...

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