Mentor-in-Residence (MIR) Program

The University of Kentucky Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) has created a Mentor-in-Residence (MIR) program to deploy subject matter experts (mentors) to assist us in coaching and advising UK innovators on turning their technology into viable businesses, products or services.

MIRs are temporary employees of the University, reside at the OTC, and work on projects where startup or technology need is matched with mentor subject matter expertise. Pay is based on engagement type and length.

How We Use MIRs

OTC leverages the depth of experience of the MIR to:

  • Coach and mentor UK innovations and startups
  • Improve our decision process for early-stage technology transfer opportunities
  • Expand and accelerate our startups
  • Expand our resource network (mentors, experts, management talent, and paid consultants)
  • Improve the decisions and outcomes of our gap funding expenditures

MIRs commit to a specific project, for a specific length of time. MIRs are located at OTC although the nature of the work requires substantial time mentoring startups and innovators off-site. A MIR may be assigned to one or more engagements simultaneously based on the availability of the MIR’s time, and technologies requiring the MIR’s specific skill set. Additionally, MIRs are expected to attend quarterly OTC pipeline meetings, to review specific items. The activities of the MIRs are coordinated through the New Ventures team within the OTC.

To avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest, the MIRs are not actively involved with startups where they have financial involvement and are required to disclose any relationships with companies that are potential competitors for our ventures. MIRs are also required to maintain strict confidentiality with regards to our business ventures and the University of Kentucky intellectual property. MIRs are expected to leverage their own personal networks, where appropriate, to benefit commercialization projects.

Sample assignments include early-stage technology evaluation; business model development; business plan development; assisting with grant proposals; developing go-to-market strategies; pro forma financial modeling/forecasting;  marketing, sales and distribution; advising on regulatory pathways; finding talent for new ventures; identifying and minimizing key market risks; locating resources; monitoring progress along product development path; etc.

Profile of MIRs

To achieve these objectives, OTC seeks to recruit MIRs with well-credentialed backgrounds. MIRs are selected not only by qualifications and references but having a balanced background among the existing MIRs and by filling gaps in expertise based on the types of technologies being created at the University of Kentucky. We use the following criteria when selecting a MIR:

  • Experience or knowledge of technology commercialization
  • Management experience in an early-stage company
  • In-depth knowledge of regional start-up resources (e.g. ability to identify local start-up management talent)
  • Willingness to expand OTC’s business formation capabilities through the sharing of personal contacts for our resource network
  • Ability to make the time commitment to the program
  • Experience in a particular field or industry-relevant the needs of UK technologies (e.g. raising angel/venture capital, grant funding, business development, regulatory)

If you are interested in joining our mentor-in-residence program, please contact us at