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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