UConn has launched a new initiative aimed at nurturing and accelerating the commercialization of innovations percolating in laboratories and offices across campus. Collectively, the commercialization team aims to make it easier for faculty to pursue commercialization opportunities and/or start a business, and to do so with minimal interruption to the primary academic of the university.
The initiative, dubbed Springboard, emerges from the collaboration among the School of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the University’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC). The Springboard program includes a number of personnel embedded within the schools, who serve to catalyze these new activities:
Entrepreneur in Residence Robin Bienemann is connecting faculty with industry and organizing events (The Innovation Connection or “The Connection”) that bring people together to match interests and shape collaborations. She can be reached at (860) 392-9268 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hadi Bozorgmanesh, a UConn engineering alumnus and the UConn R&D Corp’s Director of Engineering and Physical Sciences, provides faculty assistance in bringing their technologies to market and in identifying opportunities to form companies under the UConn R&D Corporation umbrella. He received his Ph.D. in nuclear science and engineering from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Most recently, he served as Chairman of SAIC Europe Ltd. and Chairman of SAIC Ltd. in Paris and London.
Mike Wisniewski supports faculty in formulating ideas for new companies and partnerships based on their research and expertise and, as those ideas take shape, in founding startup companies. Mike has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Venture Consulting from UConn. As part his degree program, Mike participated in two experiential learning accelerators. At the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI), he analyzed company and market data to develop strategies to bring high-tech R&D energy products to the commercial market. Within the Sustainable Community Outreach and Public Engagement Accelerator (SCOPE), he further developed the national Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program that assists veterans in starting their own businesses. Additionally, Mike served as a consultant for Globant, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, introducing efficiencies to the areas of marketing, public relations, and recruiting. Prior to that, he operated his own small business and served in the United Stated Marine Corps in a variety of leadership positions.
In addition to supporting Springboard, OTC manages and integrates four programs that provide the infrastructure and resources required to propel university inventions from the laboratory to the marketplace. OTC programs such as the Center for Science and Technology Commercialization, the Technology Incubation Program and the UConn Tech-Knowledge Portal are among the tools to be utilized by the Engineering Commercialization Team as they support faculty.
John Hanson, Director of the Tech-Knowledge Portal (TKP), will work closely with the Engineering Commercialization Team to synchronize the complimentary program offerings of the team and OTC. The TKP offers an entry-point to UConn for industry; provides University-wide liaison services for companies, entrepreneurs and faculty; and engages students in researching business growth opportunities.