Georgia Tech Announces New Programs to Foster Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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As part of an ongoing effort to foster innovation and entrepreneurship within its campus community, the Georgia Institute of Technology has announced the creation of three new programs that will complement several well-established initiatives.

The new programs stem from the findings of an innovation task force, co-chaired by Associate Vice President for Research Ravi Bellamkonda and College of Computing Professor Merrick Furst, that was created to support the strategic plan. The task force recommended a number of transformational changes in the Institute’s approach to innovation, including new or expanded programs designed to provide both education and resources to campus innovators.

“Innovation is one of the Institute’s primary strategic goals, so it’s essential that we provide the Tech community with the support they need to develop and ultimately commercialize their research and ideas,” said Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research. 

The new initiatives include:

  • Georgia Tech Integrated Program for Startups, GT:IPS: GT:IPS combines a streamlined licensing program with organized support for faculty and student inventor-entrepreneurs. The program consists of two components: GT:IPS Facilitation and the GT:IPS License. GT:IPS Facilitation is a graduated program of support, information and education for new company founders, while the GT:IPS License offers the same terms to all Georgia Tech startups in the same field and provides the startup with transparency into the Georgia Tech Research Corporation’s (GTRC) licensing processes. This program will accelerate the formation of robust Georgia Tech spin out companies and broader participation in entrepreneurship among faculty and students.
  • A new program designed for early stage for-profit, not-for-profit and policy startups that are both internal and external to Georgia Tech will be officially announced soon. Through a competitive application process, the program will offer 12 to 20 startups the opportunity to tap into Georgia Tech’s entrepreneurial expertise and funding support provided through Georgia Tech’s Edison fund and an investment fund managed through Imlay Investments. The pilot program will be co-directed by Merrick Furst and Nina Sawczuk, general manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center. Information on the application process and opportunities to contribute to the investment funds will be available within the next few weeks. 
  • Bio-impact Commercialization Team (BCT): The BCT is a focused, institutional commitment to translational research in biomedicine. A team with expertise in the bio-medical device space will work closely with faculty members and the venture capital community to facilitate translational research and commercialization. The BCT will focus specifically on translational research and development projects funded by the Wallace Coulter Foundation. This team is part of a larger effort to unify work at Tech and various health care strategic partners.

The new programs will complement the following existing initiatives at Tech:

  • InVenture Prize: The InVenture Prize is an innovation competition where Georgia Tech undergraduate teams create inventions that are judged by a panel of experts. The competition was broadcast live in March 2011 with seven finalist teams competing for more than $30,000 in cash prizes, patent filings funded by GTRC and a “People’s Choice” award, sponsored by NCR Corporation.
  • TI:GER: The award-winning TI:GER Program is a partnership between Georgia Tech and Emory University School of Law that brings together PhD, MBA and law students to learn about the challenges of commercializing innovative technologies. As it approaches its 10th anniversary in 2012, TI:GER is now expanding to global entrepreneurship and has become an established part of the entrepreneurial education of graduate students on both campuses.
  • University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP): The UIDP is an activity of the National Academies that works to demonstrate innovative approaches to research engagement and to improve relationships with private industry for research and commercialization of inventions. Associate Vice President for Research Jilda Garton serves as the president of the UIDP.
  • Georgia Tech Fund for Innovation in Research and Education (GT FIRE): GT FIRE aims to facilitate planning for large extramural proposals — those that are of strategic value to the Institute and have more than $500,000 in direct costs per year — and to provide support for feasibility studies of transformative ideas in research and/or education. Faculty submitted 42 transformative proposals this spring, of which three research-related ideas and four education-related ideas were selected for funding.
  • Technology and Law: Georgia Tech is engaged with the Georgia State University College of Law’s Center for Law, Health and Society and its Intellectual Property Advisory Board in the analysis of policy at the intersection of law and technology, particularly in emerging healthcare digital technologies. Ivan Allen College Associate Professor Roberta M. Berry leads the collaboration for Georgia Tech.
  • Georgia VentureLab: This program provides comprehensive assistance to faculty members, research staff members and graduate students who want to form startup companies to commercialize the technology innovations they have developed. As a one-stop center for technology commercialization, VentureLab provides a clear pathway from laboratory innovation to the commercial market. VentureLab specialists help transform innovations into early-stage companies by assisting in business plan development, connecting the innovators with experienced entrepreneurs, locating sources of early-stage financing and preparing the new companies for the business world. The program has fostered, on average, one new spin out each month over the last three years.


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