TechConnect 2017 in Washington D.C. is in full swing today and our Executive Editor, Dr. Zina Jarrahi Cinker, is in attendance.
“The interesting thing about this conference is that it’s centered on innovation, and bringing different types of institutions together for innovation, specifically in nanotechnology,” Cinker said.
Cinker added that the day started with the keynote speakers, Lisa Friedersdorf of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, Mauro Ferrari of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, and Dr. Robert Carpick, of the University of Pennsylvania.
“Mauro Ferrari was fascinating because he was talking about nanomedicine and the amount of time it takes for these inventions to actually become commercialized,” Cinker said. “He gave an example of the process he’s been involved in for many, many years, and there’s been about 111 million dollars of funding that’s gone into the project he’s been working on.”
“The point he was making is that nanotechnology takes a very long time to become mature and become implemented in the commercial sector,” she added.
Dr. Carpick’s keynote also centered around what’s necessary for nanotechnology to become commercialized, with him giving examples of good partnerships between academia, startups and national labs and how they can work in conjunction with each other, especially with the help of grants.
There was a story of one spinoff company that worked with the national labs, and then partnered with another small business to get the kinks out of the process, until it became a commercial product. Carpick’s point was that it takes a lot of people in many different sectors to come together so that a commercial product can take off and be introduced to the market.
“We also had a great keynote panel with some really interesting people. Jon Magnuson from Boeing, G. Nagesh Rao from the SBA, and Konomi Scott of Magna, among others. It was an interesting conversation between them about how do they go after innovation, and how do they see innovation come about in these bigger companies,” Cinker said.
“They found out that sometimes working with academia it can be challenging especially when it comes to the process of licensing out the intellectual property rights. They said they’d prefer to actually work with the spinoff companies than working with the academic sector itself. They found that in some cases they’re just not willing to share, and not willing to get the process going.”
Currently TechConnect is beginning the Corporate Innovation Spotlights. Stay tuned to Graphene Entrepreneur for more updates.
Graphene Entrepreneur is a division of the National Graphene Association. The Mission of the NGA is to bring together current and future graphene stakeholders — entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, developers and suppliers, investors, venture capitalists and government agencies — to drive innovation, and to promote and facilitate the commercialization of graphene products and technologies in the United States.
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