DETROIT — Wayne State University said Wednesday it had received notice of a $820,398 grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan that will continue to support the Technology Commercialization Office’s efforts to expand and improve the university’s entrepreneurial culture and technology commercialization results.

With this support from NEI, WSU will continue to expand the activities of its Technology Development Incubator to support the validation of early-stage technologies with significant commercial potential, increase licensing staff, and enhance marketing tools to create awareness of the availability of WSU intellectual property assets to industry and the venture capital community.

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“A key focus for the New Economy Initiative is to increase tech transfer and commercialization throughout the region, and Wayne State is central to those efforts,” said David O. Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative. “As a driver of innovation and new ideas — from the Colleges of Engineering and Medicine to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — Wayne State continues to produce intellectual property that ultimately leads to company and job creation. We’re thrilled to support the university’s efforts to increase commercial outputs and entrepreneurial activity as a whole, while helping build an innovation corridor right here in Detroit that benefits the entire region.”

Added Joan Dunbar, associate vice president of tech commercialization at Wayne State: “With the support of the NEI, we have been able to initiate new programs that are helping us grow our invention disclosures and facilitating a new pipeline of start-up company opportunities. We recently introduced a mentors-in-residence program, an innovation fellows program and implemented the initial round of funding of the Technology Development Incubator.”

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The NEI-supported Innovation Fellows Program is geared towards cultivating the next generation of chief scientific officers and entrepreneurial scientists for local high-tech industry. This program promotes technology commercialization education for post-docs in WSU’s School of Medicine, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The Technology Development Incubator program is another initiative supported through NEI that provides a comprehensive solution to the cultural, technological and financial challenges associated with the translation of innovative early-stage technologies from academia to the marketplace. This program provides the infrastructure to accelerate the feasibility studies necessary for licensing, industry partnerships and start-up opportunities.

“The grant from the NEI has allowed Wayne State to re-invent technology commercialization on our campus,” said Hilary Ratner, vice president for research at WSU. “It will allow us to translate innovative early-stage technologies from academia to the marketplace that ultimately will benefit our local economy through workforce development and job creation, growth of entrepreneurial enterprises, and attracting federal and venture funding to the region.”

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