Dr. Robert McClain

Associate VP of Innovation & Research

I am the associate vice president for Research & Innovation at HSC. My career path includes experiences in product development, research management and business development. I am also a startup founder and awardee of SBIR grant funding.

Department Details: I lead two teams: HSC Next and Research Core Labs

i. The HSC Next team works closely with campus and community partners to catalyze innovation and build a stronger innovation ecosystem for Fort Worth. The team guides faculty and student innovators, manages the HSC intellectual property portfolio, incubates startup companies, connects entrepreneurs to resources and provides programming to support emerging companies. One of the many things that the HSC Next team does is the assessment of early-stage technologies for commercial potential and patentability. We work closely with patent attorneys to file patents and manage patent prosecution. We market our technologies to potential partners and negotiate license agreements with entrepreneurs and companies for rights to commercialize proprietary HSC inventions.

ii. HSC Research Core Labs are specialty service labs with cutting-edge instrumentation to support biomedical research and product development. The Research Core Labs serve faculty, students, startups and corporate biotech companies on a fee-for-service basis.

How does sponsored research work?

a. Sponsored research and clinical studies are valuable ways that companies – new startups and large corporations – engage faculty expertise, leverage campus resources and access patients or animal models. The arrangements often result from an interest by a company to have a concept, drug or device evaluated by campus experts or tested in humans or animals.

b. Once a connection is made to a campus expert, the company often provides the “investigator” with a protocol to follow on the project. Other times, the company asks the investigator to develop a project protocol. Then, the investigator develops a project budget and the company executes a contract with HSC. The contract specifies terms like project deliverables, confidentiality, ownership of intellectual property and the payment schedule on which the company will pay HSC for the project work. Project budgets include the cost of items like Investigator time, project materials and protocol review.

c. After execution of the contract, the project protocol must be approved by a campus review committee before it can start. This is required by law and the purpose is to ensure the project will be conducted ethically. Projects can run from just a few days to many months, depending on the protocol and contract.

What’s the best way to work our campus labs?

a. Entering into sponsored research agreements or testing contracts.

b. Utilizing the services of core labs at HSC.

c. Collaborating with an HSC expert on grant proposals to fund research activities.

a. Search HSC research expertise here.

b. Learn more about HSC Next here.

c. Learn more about HSC Next’s SBIR Phase 0 program here.

d. Learn more about the HSC Research Core Labs here.