“Startup Insider” Helps Entrepreneurs

Bennett J. Loudon, Staff Writer, Democrat & Chronicle

The business community has a new resource to get help from experienced experts.

The series, hosted by Alex Zapesochny, is an outgrowth of the efforts of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Working Group of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. The regional council is one of 10 created to develop long-term strategic plans for spurring economic growth and new jobs across the state.

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UR Ventures “Open for Business”

By Jennifer Roach

20 November 2013

The University’s Office of Technology Transfer has rebranded itself as UR Ventures with a new look, a new structure, and a renewed focus on technology development and commercialization. UR Ventures will provide the University’s technology transfer functions with an emphasis on getting research discoveries to the public through business formation and technology licensing. Scott Catlin, who joined the University as associate vice president for innovation and technology commercialization in April, talks about the recent changes and the office’s goals.

Why is it the right time to introduce UR Ventures?

I’ve been here about seven months now. Before I got here there had been two technology transfer offices at the University— one was for the science and engineering schools and one for the Medical Center and the medical school—and those were combined last December. That provided an opportunity for us to reflect on how we organize ourselves, and how we put it all together to be more efficient and better organized. Since I’ve been here, I’ve spent a lot of time out in the community and around campus, talking to faculty and entrepreneurs and investors. Being new here, I could really take the time to get feedback and reflect on what seems to work and get their perspectives on what we might improve. Are we really getting all of our great research out and in use, as we should? Being a research University and a not-for-profit, we have an obligation to get our technologies out and benefiting the world. We’ve done some of that, but there’s a general question about how we can do a better job of translating technologies so they are better able to get into the market.

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Innovation Advisors and Alumni Briefed on Tech Commercialization

ROCForward: November 2013

The University of Rochester Innovation Advisory Network gathered during Meliora Weekend in October for a conversation with Senior Vice President of Research Rob Clark and Associate Vice President for Innovation and Technology Commercialization Scott Catlin.

Caitlin updated the group on the reorganization of the Office of Technology Transfer and the launch of UR Ventures. He also provided a review of the Technology Development Fund’s progress to date:

  • The Fund has supported 11 projects since its inception, 8 of which are moving forward;
  • A total of $766,000 has been committed to these projects;
  • 60 percent of the project are in the life sciences, 40 percent in engineering;
  • The Fund receives more proposals than it can support and the quality improves with each application cycle..

The Institute of Optics also hosted its Industrial Associates meeting Meliora Weekend, celebrating “60 Years of Innovation.” Approximately 160 companies have been started by some 115 optics alumni and faculty. Panels and keynotes speakers addressed topics such as “what I wish I had known,” “why start a company,” and “developing, growing, and selling your company.” A group of about 200 came together for this event, supporting and encouraging the University’s relationship between optics and entrepreneurship, honoring the success seen thus far, and aiming towards continued achievement in the future.

In October, Peter and Kathy Landers, both University of Rochester alumni and actively involved with various aspects of the University, hosted a special George Eastman Circle event at Monroe County Club at which both Rob Clark and Scott Catlin spoke with 80 guests regarding funding opportunities within our revised Technology Transfer efforts. Several individuals who attended have since joined the George Eastman Circle and have designated their gifts to Technology Commercialization.

Rethinking the Research University for the 21st Century

by Stephen Dewhurst

Over the weekend, I read a series of newspaper articles about the high price of college and the emergence of new, profit-seeking universities that offer degree programs at low cost.

As a professor at a major research university, and the father of two high school students, these issues hit pretty close to home. I worry about how we can successfully contain the cost of college so that students and their families aren’t burdened by crushing debt. But I also worry about the future of traditional bricks-and-mortar institutions that must compete with online colleges.

Universities are among the most stable institutions that we have. Unlike many other businesses – and some sports franchises – they rarely if ever leave town for greener pastures. In fact, they form the bedrock upon which communities are built. That’s why the University of Rochester is now the #1 employer in the Rochester area.

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Super-Thin Membranes Clear the Way for Chip-Sized Pumps

Diagnostic Devices the Size of a Credit Card Are Now a Possibility

The ability to shrink laboratory-scale processes to automated chip-sized systems would revolutionize biotechnology and medicine. For example, inexpensive and highly portable devices that process blood samples to detect biological agents such as anthrax are needed by the U.S. military and for homeland security efforts. One of the challenges of “lab-on-a-chip” technology is the need for miniaturized pumps to move solutions through micro-channels. Electroosmotic pumps (EOPs), devices in which fluids appear to magically move through porous media in the presence of an electric field, are ideal because they can be readily miniaturized. EOPs however, require bulky, external power sources, which defeats the concept of portability. But a super-thin silicon membrane developed at the University of Rochester could now make it possible to drastically shrink the power source, paving the way for diagnostic devices the size of a credit card.

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UR Ventures Launches New Brand

After several months of intense self-reflection, the University of Rochester Office of Technology Transfer relaunched itself as UR Ventures today, 21 October 2013. UR Ventures has a new look, a new structure, and a renewed focus on technology commercialization. UR Ventures will provide the University’s technology transfer functions with an emphasis on getting research discoveries to the public –through business formation, technology licensing, and through public disclosure.

UR Ventures is adopting a project management approach to every discovery, focusing on locating and securing the resources necessary to achieve success . . . or on defining the gaps and missing resources standing in the way of success. The new office will develop the information and resources needed to be better able to make tough decisions and then to match University of Rochester technologies with businesses and investors that will move them forward to the market.