Grad course prepares researchers, faculty for entrepreneurial success

Purdue University will offer “Life of a Faculty Entrepreneur: Discovery, Development and Translation,” a course that presents essential information regarding research commercialization and entrepreneurial processes for faculty, graduate students and researchers in spring 2018.

Nathalie Duval-Couetil, an associate professor of technology leadership and innovation, and Michael Ladisch, a distinguished professor of agricultural and biological engineering with a joint appointment in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, will teach the three-credit-hour course from 5:30-8:20 p.m. on Thursdays.

“Instead of offering a class focused entirely on entrepreneurship and business concepts, we want to offer a course targeting the researchers’ perspectives and priorities,” Duval-Couetil said. “The goal is to empower graduate students and faculty to make more informed decisions as they consider moving their technology out of the lab and into the market place.”

The course will address four primary categories, such as IP pathway decisions, that branch into 14 factors for commercialization success. These factors range from proof of concept vs. actual prototype to understanding investors.

Michael Ladisch, Distinguished Professor Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Ladisch served as chief technology officer at Mascoma for five years before returning to Purdue full time, where he and Duval-Couetil created “Life of a Faculty Entrepreneur” in exploration of researchers’ priorities and needs during commercialization.

“Based on my experience as a chief technology officer for a startup, I learned what factors can influence success in a venture,” Ladisch said. “Purdue community members asked me how I would share my experiences and I thought a course would be most effective.”

Duval-Couetil added, “Mike and I approach these topics with different experiences and perspectives, but it’s one of the course’s strengths. Diversity in backgrounds creates a great class culture.”

Startup ventures may struggle to survive the long gap between finalizing their research and accessing commercialization resources. However, Duval-Couetil and Ladisch believe they can prepare researchers to better maneuver through this process, whether they choose careers in academia or industry.

This course will meet in Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Purdue’s Discovery Park. Duval-Couetil said the course prepares researchers to begin working with the Office of Technology Commercialization, the office that protects Purdue’s intellectual property, and the Purdue Foundry a startup accelerator that helps entrepreneurs develop their startups.

“Anyone contemplating commercialization activity can gain something from this course,” Ladisch said. “Life of a Faculty Entrepreneur” is also listed as ABE 62600 or TLI 62600 in the course catalog.

“The course is timely, inspiring, insightful and packed with practical advice.”
Hong Z. Tan, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Source: Purdue Newsroom