Daniel J. Kramer, JD
Contract Support Specialist
Technology Transfer Office

Why did you initially apply to work at CU?

I had finished law school, where I had specialized in intellectual property. And I have always liked university settings. They seem to be more free-thinking and there’s more of a team atmosphere, I guess. I saw this position and it worked in both my legal knowledge in intellectual property and contracts, plus it married well to my background, which was in biochemistry. I knew that I could use my biochemistry background to understand the science, which would help me with the legal and intellectual property parts. It was just an amazing fit given my background and my interests.

Tell me a little bit about what you do.

I help execute contracts for scientists to either help them start research or conduct research. Let’s say a scientist wants to talk about what they are doing in their lab with a drug company. I will set up the nondisclosure agreement so they can talk about their research or maybe start a collaboration. Once that gets started, I’m in charge of all the material transfer agreements, which are what gets the drugs or whatever from the company on campus and under what terms. It’s kind of cool because I get to work with industry to figure out what works for them, then work with our scientists to figure out what they want, then marry the two into an agreement.

What your favorite project you’ve completed at CU?

I was working with Ben Miller on a sponsored research agreement for UMASS and UMASS was under certain terms that they had agreed to with the state government, but the terms they had with the state government didn’t really work well for us. There were a lot of contentious negotiations with the attorneys at UMASS and on our side. I was able to get things so Ben was very happy.  But it was more being able to work through and maintain the relationship even though communication had broken down a little bit. That was kind of cool. I enjoyed working with Ben Miller and all his administrative people.

What do you enjoy most about living in Colorado?

The people. It’s one thing about living everywhere because I really have. I’ve lived in the northwest, northeast, southwest; I mean in all the corners of the country, I’ve had the opportunity to be everywhere. This is the first place I’ve ever lived where I can ask anybody, “Do you like being in Colorado?” And they are like “Heck yes, I do.” It’s very emphatic and a there’s a lot of enjoyment about being here – the healthy nature of how people treat themselves physically and the mental part of enjoying being here, I think it helps keep everything on an upbeat note. I haven’t found that anywhere else. It was about the end of September or early October of 2013, and I came out here with whatever I could fit in my car and was eventually able to get a job at Costco stocking shelves. It wasn’t another month and a half until I got the job here, which meant I could make it. So I really appreciate the opportunity to be here because it is a fantastic opportunity to just be at the university. I just really wanted to try living in Colorado, so I gave it a nice long shot like some people do. It’s an intimidating way of being after law school. Coming out of law school I was like, “Doors will open.” False. Out here in Colorado, doors really did open.

What is the best part of your workday?

Whenever I get a call from a scientist who doesn’t understand the contract language, I can sit on the phone and tell them what the terms mean because I’ve been in the science realm. Plus, I understand that the contract language makes little-to-no sense. Furthermore, I understand not wanting to figure out what that all means. A lot of it can be rather complex. So it’s nice for me to have a skill set to look at a document for 5-10 minutes, then relay that information in lay terms so the scientists can make informed decisions about what they want for themselves and what they want out of the project. I like being able to do that because I know I’m saving them a lot of time and effort. 

What is your favorite campus/neighborhood location?

I think it’s the fourth floor of the student building in Boulder. If you go up, there is a balcony you can go out on and it looks out over all of Boulder. It’s just a beautiful view. I guess not many people know about it because there is no one up there whenever I go.

What is your favorite area restaurant?

That would be Thai Monkey Club. It is out in Broomfield, I believe. Sometimes, we will drive out there when I am working out on the Boulder campus because it’s only about a 10-15 minute drive. It’s really good Thai food. And they are really nice people, so that’s a highlight.

What do you enjoy doing on your spare time?

I do a lot of running. I like to get out into the parks. Hikes, whenever I can on the weekends. I just bought my first house. I’m sure I’ll be spending a lot of time doing yard work and that kind of stuff, too.

What is your favorite perk or benefit?

Work/life balance. I could go work for a firm and make a ton of money and hate myself for working 80 hours a week. The university gives plenty of time off. They encourage people to take time off. I can work a normal 40 hour week, and there is no real pressure to stay here for 60 hours. I really appreciate that aspect of it.

What is your one piece of advice for someone interested in working at CU?

It would be to be self-motivated and open minded. There’s – at least in Tech Transfer – not a lot of hand-holding. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions or seek clarification if needed, but there is not a lot of time for micro-managing. It is important to keep in mind it’s more laid-back than in industry, but we are really busy. Embrace that and try to be more understanding when people don’t know. Everyone is in there trying to get their research done, and I’m just trying to assist that.