Tech transfer offices (TTOs) at universities are a major bottleneck in funding projects.
Decentralised Tech Transfer (DTT).
In brief, the idea is:
- Identify researchers with a project.
- Pay the selected researchers as consultants on the project.
- Use contract research organizations (CROs) and core facilities at universities with which the researcher isn’t affiliated to execute the project and generate the intellectual property (IP). This IP will be owned by those who fund the project and the researchers.
- Anyone could get upside in the project by helping incubate it.
Analogy: Rather than Airbnb negotiating with hotel owners for their unused rooms or Uber negotiating with taxi companies on their unused cars, these Web2 companies disintermediated them by going straight to the people. Similarly, rather than negotiating with universities, VitaDAO should go straight to the researchers.
VitaDAO-specific details: The above is a general concept that could be used in any DeSci context. The following details pertain to VitaDAO specifically:
- The project aligns with VitaDAO’s mission of promoting longevity.
- The IP will be owned by VitaDAO and the researchers, via a RWE (real world entity) holding company.
- “Anyone” getting upside would likely refer to members of the VitaDAO community.
- Greater efficiency. No more waiting on universities and their tech transfer offices (TTOs). All negotiations are directly between the researcher(s) and VitaDAO.
- The researcher(s) are in full control of their upside. The effort they put in determines their resulting equity/IP stake. They also receive regular consulting fees for the work they put in.
- VitaDAO’s funds will be spent more judiciously. It only pays for IP generating experiments and the hours of work the researcher(s) put in. This also allows for better treasury management because VitaDAO’s funds stay longer under its control, e.g., in yield generating accounts, e.g., DeFi, rather than sitting in a university’s bank account not earning interest.
- DTT better focuses VitaDAO on entrepreneurially minded researchers, who are well suited to cross the valley of death and who are aligned with other entrepreneur-centered efforts in the space e.g., YCombinator, Nucleate, NewScience, SPARK, etc.
- Growing DAO2DAO coordination and the DeSci movement. In coordination with DeSci partners such as LabDAO, partners will be selected to provide services for the projects. Partners can be companies, CROs or universities with which the researchers aren’t affiliated.
Long-term: This will make VitaDAO more automated and less hampered by university bureaucracy. Regarding automation, we can imagine self-serve website experiences where all the following activities are possible:
- Researchers post their project
- Qualified people review the project in exchange for VITA tokens
- On-chain voting to fund or not the project happens once the project accumulates enough reviews
Researcher network: This VDP proposes that VitaDAO, in partnership with other researcher networks, will source researchers that are willing and able to lead projects in this DTT model. It’s understood that some researcher’s employers may prevent them from participating in IP generation outside of their employment. Partnering researcher networks are still TBD.
CRO network: This VDP proposes that VitaDAO, in partnership with LabDAO, will orchestrate a CRO network for researchers to tap into to do the IP-generating experiments. To pilot this initiative, VitaDAO will take the lead in establishing a Master Agreement with Washington University in St. Louis’ Center for Drug Discovery, which has both medicinal chemistry and high-throughput screening capabilities.
The details of the relationship, e.g., financial terms, between VitaDAO and LabDAO will be the subject of a future VDP. It should be understood though that because this CRO network can be used by more than just VitaDAO, VitaDAO should receive $LAB tokens in exchange for funding its development.
Success Metrics: Establish diverse services both wet-lab and computational (> 10). Sign partnerships with well-established institutions that in addition to providing good science will ideally lead to discounted services and co-branding opportunities.
Timeline: Six months. June 2022-January 2023.
Budget: Bounty payments in the form of $VITA tokens will be given to those who contribute to building the researcher and CRO networks.
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