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"Ivory Tower to Marketplace"

July 13, 2009

One important innovation that Dean Davis Baird has put in place at the South Carolina Honors College is a requirement, “Honors Beyond the Classroom,” that aims to better connect students’ classroom education with those sites where it can be put to work. The goal is for students to actively understand how education is productive. To satisfy this requirement students may either pursue undergraduate research, study abroad, service learning or an internship. Perhaps the piece of Honors Beyond the Classroom that is most innovative is the course, “From Ivory Tower to Marketplace: Entrepreneur Laboratory,” where two teams of students spent the month of May working with actual USC intellectual property to develop a business plan to make it socially and commercially valuable.  These sessions were coordinated by Moore School Dean Hildy Teegen

Two teams of students worked with actual USC intellectual property – a new type of gas detection sensor developed by Prof. Goutam Koley at the Department of Electrical Engineering and the NanoCenter – to develop a business plan that would make the device commercially valuable.

Conditions typical to the entrepreneurial experience were simulated during the course and included: extreme time pressure, engagement with the scientific and commercial communities, resource constraints, limited and costly information relevant to decision-making, competition with other enterprises seeking market access, and the need to work effectively in a team whose members possess diverse skills and working styles.

During the final session it was announced that the three principles (Koley, James & Vogt) of SENS4, LLC were awarded a Small Business Invoation and Research Phase I grant from that National Science Foundation, to develop this technology platform.  These funds will be matched by SC Launch.

Course description and more details on the website of the Moore School: