Profiting From Their Inventions: A New Course Will Introduce STEM Students to the Business of Technology

By Lida Tunesi

Starting this fall, graduate students in STEM fields will have the chance to learn how to take a new technology from the laboratory to the world of business, in a new course: Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Tech Transfer

Rein Ulijnfounding director of the Nanoscience Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY (CUNY ASRC) and Einstein Professor of Chemistry at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, and Professor Scott Newbert of the Zicklin School of Business and academic director of the Lawrence N. Field Programs in Entrepreneurship at Baruch College, will lead the course.

“Graduate students are incredibly creative,” Ulijn said. “Most of their discoveries end up in papers in the scientific literature and in their theses. We realized that entrepreneurial-minded students may be interested in understanding better how ideas become products and how companies are started.”

To show students how to shepherd their ideas out into the world, Ulijn and Newbert designed a course that will cover idea generation, prototype creation, tech transfer, intellectual property, and how to create business models and secure financing. Each week will feature guest speakers with startup, small business, and other industry expertise. 

Students will work in small groups throughout the semester to take a new technology through each of these steps, and will pitch their inventions at the culmination of the course. Those who haven’t developed their own tech will have the option of developing their business plans around an existing patent from the CUNY Technology Commercialization Office.

“This is a wide-ranging course with students from various disciplines and at various stages in the scientific development process,” Newbert said. “I am looking forward to the exchange of knowledge and ideas within the group.”

The course is open to students in STEM fields at the Graduate Center and graduate students from the Grove School of Engineering at City College. It will take place largely online with a few in-person sessions at the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College and at the CUNY ASRC.

“I am very excited to take this course because it's the first of its kind,” said Ph.D. student Shejla Pollozi (Chemistry). “Given my interests in tech transfer, consulting, and regulatory affairs post-graduation, I am hoping this class will serve as a stepping stone towards understanding the business of science, how it is marketed and branded.”

The professors hope the course will open students’ eyes to opportunities in the startup world and give them the real-life skills to jump in.

“New York City has a lively and booming startup culture,” Ulijn said. “We hope that more CUNY STEM students will become part of this and our course can be a starting point.”

Published by the Office of Communications and Marketing

Submitted on: JUN 10, 2021

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