June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
14.61.1 - 14.61.14
A Model for Technology Commercialization: Mississippi State University
Commercializing university technologies has been a focus of many research directors throughout the country. In most cases however, the desire to commercialize technologies and shift the focus to entrepreneurship and business development has been a slow process. At Mississippi State University, there are efforts underway to change the culture of the university to focus more on technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. The university understands that technology commercialization is an economic driver for the university and for the state of Mississippi. In observing the efforts underway and recording the initial successes, a model for technology commercialization has been developed to conceptualize the effort and provide a roadmap for future success. The technology commercialization model depicts a phased process where technology drivers provide the inputs, and the output is a commercialized technology and/or a new business entity. These technology drivers include industry, government, consumers, and philanthropists that interact directly with university ambassadors that are familiar with the research and development capabilities of the university. These drivers currently fund research efforts in the research focal centers through the university Research Park and colleges. As the university moves forward, market needs will define technology drivers and more applied research will be conducted to specifically target those needs. As these technologies mature and commercialization potential is identified, additional efforts are needed to ensure that university faculty and researchers get the help that they need to push the technology forward toward commercialization. This paper reports on the observations and issues with technology commercialization at Mississippi State and describes a model of university technology commercialization.
Entrepreneurship and technology commercialization is increasingly becoming a major focus among research institutions throughout the United States. Universities have found that when faculty and students start successful businesses, they play a very important role in the continued development of the university and have a substantial effect on the economy of the surrounding cities. Universities such as MIT, Stanford, and Harvard are all premier institutions that have well-established centers and resources dedicated to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. Until recently however, for many other institutions the focus on entrepreneurship has been more of an afterthought than a primary interest.
In order to create an environment where university faculty members, staff, and students pursue entrepreneurial activities, the culture of many universities must change. This change in culture must first be instituted in the faculty. Faculty members drive university research efforts. They are the lifeblood of the research centers and research parks throughout the United States. They conduct both basic and applied research with the applied research often making its way into government labs and research and development groups at many of the larger corporations. This research is then positioned for commercialization and put into practical use. Any efforts pushing
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