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UC Santa Cruz goes all out to engage students from non-STEM fields in entrepreneurship


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

Getting “creative” students from non-STEM disciplines involved with innovation and entrepreneurship always sounds like a great idea, but making it happen is another matter. Indeed, many TTOs will tell you that they regularly reach out to academic departments in the humanities, social sciences and the arts – but get little return on these efforts.

However, the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) has developed a formula for cracking this problem that is not only gaining traction among non-traditional students, but is also uncovering significant benefits that students from disciplines outside the STEM arena can bring to the table in terms of engaging with community partners and potential customers.

Another plus of the approach: rather than leaving traditional STEM students out of the outreach equation, it creates a synergy between these students and the students from non-STEM fields. Further, while some aspects of the UC Santa Cruz approach are quite new, they build upon techniques the campus has been honing over many years, and they offer lessons for other universities that are looking to expand their innovation reach beyond engineering and scientific fields.

Sue Carter, a physics professor at UCSC, also heads the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED) at the school, and she has made it her mission to engage students from non-traditional areas in entrepreneurial pursuits. Why? Because, she finds that the traditional focus on engineering students has produced only a limited set of ideas and solutions.

“We want ideas that have not been traditionally thought of,” explains Carter. “One of the advantages of students from the humanities, the social sciences and the arts is they are generally connected to the broader public more so than a lot of STEM students are. Their backgrounds are more diverse, they have strong ties to the community, and they understand the customer and the values of that customer much better than a typical STEM student would.”

Such skills and relationships can be a gold mine for new thinking and new approaches to community needs. “The problem we have always had in innovation and entrepreneurship is we have all these students with technical skills, but they don’t know how to define the customer and value proposition, so we spend all our time teaching them that because they don’t have those skills,” observes Carter. “In our case, we don’t need to do that because we already have students out there who understand the customer and value proposition.… We just need to get those students engaged with the STEM students and we have basically solved one of the big problems in innovation and entrepreneurship.”

To accomplish this task, UCSC created a new center under the CIED called Idea Hub which involves faculty from the arts, social sciences and humanities as well as engineering, physical and biological sciences. The Idea Hub includes four labs, each focused on churning out innovations in specific areas. For instance, the Sustainability or S-lab is for students interested in pursuing solutions across a range of fields including green tech, biotech, food tech and agriculture; the OpenLab is for students focused on creative and cultural innovations; the Community Media and Mapping Lab is for students interested in developing new digital information tools for promoting social enterprises; and the VizLab is for students who want to use an array of visual technologies to develop new content or tools for interacting with the world.

A linchpin of the Idea Hub approach is that all projects have to include students from multiple disciplines. This interaction is facilitated through an open house where students from all the different academic departments meet and interact. “That is where we get people to pick their ideas and form their teams,” notes Carter. “We provide them with funding, and they get access to mentors, incubator spaces and training workshops. That is the process we have been using to be successful at launching interdisciplinary projects.”

A detailed article on UC Santa Cruz’s efforts appears in the November issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, along with the entire 10-year archive of best practices and success strategies for TTOs, CLICK HERE.

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New APLU report suggests TTOs should look beyond generating revenues


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

A recent report from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) suggests that university tech transfer offices should focus more on the economic and social impact of their innovations than on revenue generation. continue reading »

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Coming Dec. 7th: Encore of Bayh-Dole compliance workshop


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

The compliance requirements of the Bayh-Dole Act have been a fact of life for universities for the past 37 years, and it’s easy to fall into a sense of complacency, assuming that these well-establish rules are ingrained in the fabric of the institution. But in most cases, that’s a dangerous and most likely inaccurate assumption.

In fact, that is the conclusion of NIH officials, who have expressed increasing concern that many universities are not fully honoring their obligations to report inventions, provide confirmatory licenses, and submit utilization reports. Their alarm bells went off after their internal reviews noted a significant discrepancy between the number of grants awarded versus the number of subject inventions being reported.

Staff turnover, inadequate training, poor record keeping, and simple complacency all contribute to an alarming lack of compliance, and universities are being urged by both NIH and AUTM to redouble their compliance and auditing efforts. That’s why we’ve scheduled a special encore presentation of the critical webinar workshop, Bayh-Dole Compliance Check-up: Effectively Address the Challenge of Complacency, scheduled for this December 7.

For complete details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Johns Hopkins partners with investment firm, gets $65M to invest in drug tech


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

A new incubator at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) will help turn promising research into FDA-approved therapeutics, using a $65 million fund supplied via a new partnership with an investment firm. The deal gives Hopkins researchers a ready source of funding to make the long haul from early-stage research to the marketplace. The plan is to nurture new therapies longer, de-risk them in-house, and thus command more lucrative deals as new drugs reach later stages of maturity. continue reading »

Try Industry-Sponsored Research Management for FREE! CLICK HERE for a complimentary sample issue

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UK agencies create template NDA to encourage research collaboration with China


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

Three UK agencies have developed a template non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to encourage universities and businesses in the country to collaborate with organizations in China on research and technology licensing. continue reading »

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Cambridge U start-ups secures £350K to advance its unique method to produce human cells for research


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

A Cambridge University start-up has secured a £350K seed investment to commercialize a unique method to generate human cell types. continue reading »

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U of Akron researchers develop polymer-based alternative to post-surgery opioids


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

Researchers at the University of Akron have developed a therapeutic polymer film that could replace addictive opioids currently used to treat post-surgery pain. continue reading »

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Binghamton U researcher develops technology that could reduce harmful side effects of cancer drugs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

A Binghamton University researcher has developed an innovation that could reduce the debilitating side effects of anti-cancer drugs. continue reading »

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Inexpensive software for in-house IP valuations


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

Most IP valuation methods that have been developed are either inexpensive but yield very coarse results, or so costly they are out of reach for most TTOs and many other IP professionals. The Competitive Advantage Valuation (CAV) system is a software program designed to close that gap, offering both affordability and precision.

The CAV method was developed over many years to value IP assets and formulate technology commercialization strategies on behalf of corporate, university and federal laboratory clients of the Technology Commercialization Research Center at Syracuse University. CAV is the only software-based valuation method that:

  • Considers all of the variables that determine IP value;
  • Calculates discrete dollar and percentage amounts for IP value variables;
  • Calculates IP competitive advantage relative to competing IP;
  • Quantifies technical, market and intellectual property risk associated with IP;
  • Equalizes return on investment in IP for parties engaged in an IP exchange.

The CAV Software yields clear and logical valuation results at an extremely low price when compared with other products or typical consulting fees. The pricing is designed to make valuation expertise more widely available and allow any organization, regardless of budget, to conduct valuation analyses in-house. Under a special agreement with 2Market Information, the CAV system is available for only $350.

For complete details and an online demo, CLICK HERE >>

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Cornell start-up develops monitoring technology to address declining bee population


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

A Cornell University start-up has developed a technology that addresses declining bee populations by monitoring beehives remotely. continue reading »

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U of South Australia start-up hires new CEO, readies head and neck cancer nanotech diagnostic for clinical trials


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

Ferronova, a University of South Australia start-up focused on cancer detection, has recruited successful biotech entrepreneur Stewart Bartlett to serve as CEO. continue reading »

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U of Tennessee Health Science Center launches initiative to boost tech transfer


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2017

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is launching a new initiative to boost the commercialization of research. continue reading »

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