Mentors and colleagues are a valuable
source of advice and information for you, particularly if they have gone through the commercialization process. However, it is important to remain mindful of their perspective. The anecdotal information they can provide is good to have, and their knowledge of the individuals and organizations at your institution or assignee can be very useful, but they will speak from their own experiences and may include a personal bias.
If you do not already have a viable network of academic research peers, you may want to make developing one a priority. Expand your listing of colleagues beyond your university, your state or even your field of research.
If you are not already a member of a peer network or professional society, you may want to look into it. Most professional societies host meetings, networking events and seminars you can attend to meet and build rapport with peers in your area of expertise. From these, you can develop a network of resources to discuss any issues that arise during your research or subsequent technology transfer and commercialization efforts. Additionally, professional groups or networks often have resources available to their members including peer recommended law firms, white papers and case studies about research or commercialization and more.
There are many networking organizations for researchers. One example is BIRN, or Biomedical Informatics Research Network. It is funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health.
Peer relationships and a peer network are must-haves for every researcher. If you are not already a member of a professional society or networking group, find one and get involved today!