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Tim Faley
  Timothy Faley
 

Zell Lurie Institute Launches Program for Research Commercialization

12/13/2004 --

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Zell Lurie Institute (ZLI) for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business has unveiled a new Program for Research Commercialization Potential (PRCP).

The PRCP will codify and streamline existing processes for screening, aggregating and assessing the commercialization potential of research discoveries. As part of the launch, ZLI also announced that it will develop a methodology to screen, identify and shape the commercial potential of research conducted at U-M's Wireless Integrated MicroSystems Engineering Research Center (WIMS ERC), funded by the National Science Foundation.

Designed to ultimately identify new venture creation opportunities, the PRCP offers benefits to both MBA students and WIMS ERC researchers. It will provide key resources and learning opportunities at the initial stages of the research commercialization process–before the research goes to the business planning stage.

U-M research will serve as the starting point for the PRCP program, but ZLI plans to roll out the program to a larger audience of other universities, research centers and private companies in coming months.

"Any large organization conducting research has untapped potential for venture creation and profit," said Timothy Faley, ZLI managing director. "The PRCP's model of effective research and technology evaluation, before expending the effort of developing a specific commercialization plan, is a key step in the discovery and realization of this potential."

MBA students at ZLI are placed on the front lines of real, tangible research, exploring emerging technologies, identifying customer needs and assessing business models for commercialization potential, Faley says. In turn, researchers are offered the opportunity to connect with business school students to conduct market research, assess market potential and decide whether to advance a given technology to the business planning stage.

Universities have successfully commercialized technology for decades. Recently, the ZLI's Wolverine Venture Fund–the oldest student-run venture fund in the United States and a key component of the Zell Lurie Entrepreneurial Studies program–received a $1 million return on its investment when IntraLase Corp., a U-M spin-off technology company, went public. By codifying these early stages of the commercialization process, the PRCP hopes to increase the number of future such successes.

"The biggest challenges of the research commercialization process are in the initial stages, trying to determine whether or not an idea in the lab has the potential to be a successful venture," said Joseph Giachino, external programs director for WIMS ERC. "By partnering with the Zell Lurie Institute in its PRCP program, we can create a model of effective research and technology evaluation before more formal commercialization activities. This is a better, more effective process for venture creation for WIMS ERC that utilizes University resources in its efforts to transfer laboratory research into profit for the University."

For more information about ZLI, visit the institute online at www.zli.bus.umich.edu. For more about WIMS ERC, visit www.wimserc.org.



For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847, bernied@umich.edu