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Degree program trains students to turn U of Rochester patents into products


By David Schwartz
Published: February 3rd, 2010

The University of Rochester (NY) is taking a different approach to enlist students in commercializing promising technology. The school has created a graduate program designed to put its vast collection of IP to use in medical devices, consumer electronics, and other applications instead of leaving patents to collect dust. As a component of the Masters of Science degree, the Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (TEAM) program will require students to look through the archives of the university’s nearly 400 available patents, find those that can be turned into profitable technologies, and develop businesses around them. Designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in a technical field, the approach is being tested by four students in a pilot class this school year. Participants take graduate level engineering courses from U-Rochester’s Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and business courses from the Simon Graduate School of Business.

One of the program’s founders, vice provost for entrepreneurship Duncan Moore, has started a few companies of his own during his tenure at U-Rochester using technology that he helped develop. Many academics aren’t comfortable in industry, Moore says, making it difficult for potentially job-creating technologies incubated in universities to enter the marketplace. Local engineers need to learn to start their own companies, he adds — especially in Rochester, where traditional large, high-tech companies are struggling and engineering jobs are leaving the city. The university also has a financial incentive to use some of its dormant patents, adds Jack Fraser, deputy director of U-Rochester’s OTT. The university pays roughly $15,000 in attorneys’ fees to file a patent. When a patent sits unused, that money is not recouped.

Source: University of Rochester News


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