Author: Brian Conlin

Technology Transfer

Early Returns Positive for JHTV’s Online Invention Disclosure Platform

Early Returns Positive for JHTV’s Online Invention Disclosure Platform


To better serve the institutions’ innovative faculty and researchers, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) will fully transition to its online inventor portal on March 1. This portal will be the sole pathway for submitting invention disclosures.

About a year ago, JHTV launched the inventor portal as a new disclosure option to increase the processing efficiency of the more than 500 disclosures it receives each year and to provide inventors with a hub through which to access a historical record and the status of disclosures. Since its launch, the share of invention disclosure submissions made through the portal has climbed to 40 percent, indicating an overall preference for the new format.

“Our priority is to move invention disclosures from submission to a final outcome as quickly as possible while ensuring each receives proper attention,” says JHTV administrative manager Janice Ankeny. “We designed the portal with researchers and faculty in mind. It eliminates delays and has the added benefit of increasing transparency for faculty and researchers.”

FY 2017 invention disclosures
Barbara Slusher, M.A.S., Ph.D., professor of neurology and director of Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery, is an early adopter, having submitted five disclosures through the portal.

“What I like about the inventor portal is that when I have a question about something I filed, I can go to my inventor’s page where it has all of the information I need in one place,” Slusher says. “The system works very well. It keeps everything in check — tracking when you have uploaded information, alerting when more information is needed and showing the disclosure review status.”

The decision to concentrate disclosure activity in the portal, eliminating other options like emailed Microsoft Word and PDF documents, is based on the overwhelming advantages of the portal:


  • Eliminates submissions of incomplete disclosures
  • Fewer fields on the invention disclosure form



  • Access to all intellectual property disclosure records in a central hub
  • Increased database accuracy through self reporting updates to contact information
  • Accepts electronic signatures and uses system prompts to finalize forms



  • Reduces follow-up times for missing grant information


Customer service:

  • 75 percent reduction in system entry time increases JHTV capacity
  • Increases rate by which technologies reach IP managers
  • Facilitates creation of marketing summaries for Technology Publisher


Questions about the online inventor portal? Email Tina Preston.


Social Ventures

New SIL Director Aiming to Strengthen Baltimore’s Social Innovation…

New SIL Director Aiming to Strengthen Baltimore’s Social Innovation Scene


Alex Riehm
Since 2011, the Social Innovation Lab (SIL) has supported 72 mission-driven ventures that have impacted a quarter million lives. The reach of this program and the opportunity to work hands-on with talented social entrepreneurs drew Alex Riehm to SIL, where he assumed the role of director in November.

After earning a master’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University in 2010, Riehm oversaw 65 social enterprises, nonprofits and university initiatives as a portfolio manager for USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures fund. Many of the ventures he supported operated overseas, so while they often grew and benefited society, the physical distance made it difficult to build strong personal connections.

“My priority was to find an opportunity where I could have direct and supportive relationships with changemakers,” Riehm says. “Connections like these enable me to better understand the individual social entrepreneurs, their motivations and what they hope to achieve. Ultimately, this means I can provide better support and make a greater impact.”

Darius Graham, who served as SIL director for nearly four years before transitioning to a new role in Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures as director of student ventures, cited Riehm’s experience, vision and desire to build personal relationships as key traits that will help him succeed in leading SIL.

“Alex stood out because he already knows what it takes to grow emerging ventures and how programs like the Social Innovation Lab can help ventures avoid common roadblocks,” Graham says. “Given his experience, Alex is poised to refine the Social Innovation Lab’s model of helping ventures set and meet critical milestones that accelerate their work and help them make a measurable impact.”

Alex Riehm (right)
with the 2017-2018 SIL cohort

Riehm’s first order of business: ensuring that the 10 ventures in the 2017-2018 cohort experienced the sense of support, camaraderie and shared experience that SIL intends to cultivate. He has already crossed this off his to-do list.

“I wanted to prioritize building a mutually supportive cohort, but I was lucky to find that Darius had already created this culture,” Riehm says, noting that this year’s 10 SIL teams have had dinners and other get-togethers. “This year’s SIL cohort is flexible, they know what they want to achieve and are willing to iterate their approaches to get there. This creativity and nimbleness is exactly what programs like the Social Innovation Lab need.”

With a supportive environment in place, Riehm has shifted his focus to identifying and consolidating the resources and opportunities available to social entrepreneurs from myriad local and regional sources.

“I want the Social Innovation Lab to be a greater part of the city’s conversation about social innovation,” Riehm says. “I hope to use Johns Hopkins’ resources to connect smart teams to good work and vice versa. There’s a lot we can do to add to each other’s work.”

Riehm moved to Baltimore from Washington, D.C. only three years ago, but he happily calls this city home. He is particularly enamored and inspired by the creativity and commitment to impact that drives the city’s social entrepreneurship scene.

“Baltimore is a city where people devote generations of time and energy,” Riehm says. “It seems like the people I’ve met have five projects going on and work for two nonprofits. People invest a lot of themselves in building something here.

“This city feels like my home. I’m looking forward to investing my time and energy here, too.”

Click here to learn more about the Social Innovation Lab!


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