Inteum Stories

Success stories about real people. How they have shaped Inteum and how Inteum has influenced them
Russell Nicholls

Russell Nicholls

Deputy Director of IP Commercialisation at Curtin University

Russell Nicholls is Deputy Director of IP Commercialisation at Curtin University. Previously he has held IP management roles in universities and industry in the UK and Australia.

Experience with Inteum product and company

I’ve had many interactions with Inteum over the years. It all started in 2006 when I picked up a temporary contract position at the University of Surrey in the UK. They had just purchased Inteum and it was my job to populate it with their data. As I was doing the job, I realized how much potential the Inteum system had. It felt like a mature product that someone spent a lot of time thinking about and designing. Nita Milbourn at Inteum was very helpful when she came to the UK and helped implement the system for us. The thing I love most about the software is that it is so intuitive: without much training I was able to graduate from a novice to superuser really quickly!

As I became more familiar with the system, I discovered the immense capabilities of Inteum and how we could use it to make recordkeeping more efficient. For example, one of the initiatives was to scan the paper files and then upload them to the server with a link in each record so users could find the documents easily without leaving their desk.

I continued to work on these types of projects in my next position, when I went to work at the University of Sussex as an IP manager. They had purchased Inteum but had not implemented it fully. The person responsible for the purchase had left the tech transfer office and others in the team did not know how to get the most from it. Data was missing and some records were incomplete. I hired a small team to help me fully implement the system and get them on track.

This implementation was extremely valuable for my skill development. As we went through the process, I was able to learn all aspects of the operation, the historical commercialisation deals and the culture. To many, such projects are not fun, but I enjoyed it a lot. It was essentially an IP data audit and we discovered things with high value that were overlooked.

I have since moved to my current role at Curtin University. They too had purchased Inteum but had not implemented it fully. So I took on the task again, collecting the existing data from various sources, scanning paper records and also overcoming a few compliance problems. As I am very familiar with Inteum, I have helped our team develop new processes and we are using some of the more advanced functions.

Over 10 years, I’ve met many members of the Inteum team, including Rob Sloman, Nita Milbourn, Tim Hollobon, Ruth Benson, Britt D’Andrea and members of the UK team: Dave Waddell and Steve Lott. I even met Rob’s wife and son. It deepens the relationship and has made it more personal.

Inteum’s role on personal career development

I think to some degree Inteum played a role in my career development. Two of the places that I worked had put a lot of resources into acquiring Inteum but had not made the proper effort in implementing it. I got hired at both places partly because of my expertise in implementing Inteum, although the record keeping skills tend to get overlooked.

As my career advances, my use of Inteum also evolves. I started as a contract officer, then I became a manager and now I’m deputy director. I have progressed from being a single user of the system to working in a team of users. So there was a need to establish standard operating procedures that are both robust and easy to create reports on. I’ve been focusing on making sure that each member of the team likes to use the system therefore ensuring the goals can be easily achieved.

Inteum ASTP Scholarship in 2009

The ASTP conference had been highly recommended, however it was not on the list of the meetings that was regularly attended. When I was awarded the Inteum scholarship, I was delighted to be able to attend and enjoy a great learning experience. I was really only familiar with the UK system, however during the meeting held in Ghent, Belgium, I learned about tech transfer approaches in other countries.  It was a great experience to be an Inteum Scholar and I got to meet Rob Sloman for the first time.

Involvement in the Inteum User Community

I’ve always enjoyed going to the user group meetings and listening to what others share. I continue to learn new things about Inteum software since it’s such a comprehensive system.

As I’ve taken on more responsibility I have had less time to be involved in the user community, however I trust the Inteum development team, the account managers and the community to continue to make the product better.

Expectation for Inteum product and company in the next five years

I hope Inteum can continue with its current momentum. If there is one thing that Inteum could help us with, it would be in the area of research impact management. We are required to link research to the impact of the research. If Inteum can help us develop a case study or maybe integrate with one of the emerging research impact management systems, that would be extremely helpful.