Market to Discovery


Innovation has been a major engine of U.S. economic growth and job creation. Research universities have played a vital role in the creation of new knowledge and the preparation of students for the workforce. But the foundation of the education/innovation model of the past century is being disrupted. Technology is accelerating the rate of change and corresponding innovation cycle-times are decreasing. New business models are transforming established markets such as UBER in transportation, Airbnb in hospitality, and Amazon in retail, book publishing, and now cloud computing. The cloud, big data, AI, machine learning are examples of technology changing how problems can be solved. We are now in an integrated world where information across all domains is changing how we interact with, learn, share and apply knowledge. Today, more innovation with reduced development cycle-time is needed. Despite past successes, gaps exist between University basic research and market commercialization as a source of new innovation. Market pressures have forced companies to manage more closely the funding of research and development for new products and services. Companies often struggle to work with Universities as project development and cycle-times do not match their needs. Faculty are often disconnected from immediate market need, and lacking a clear funding stream (and priority for applied work), they tend to focus on longer-term basic research where public funds are typically available. Across many traditional industries there is a loss of knowledge from retirement of career employees. As the workforce becomes more dynamic, with long-tenure positions becoming much less common, intellectual capital management becomes a vital part of maintaining the knowledge base underlying the business model. With the rise of entrepreneurship, the lean start up model and new company formation as a means of taking new technology to market, especially in bio and technology sectors, we have an opportunity to build new bridges between market and research. Building a “start up” connection creates new innovation opportunities and investment for companies, learning opportunities for students and access to market needs through pass-through University services and research funding.


  • Create new “start-up” companies to bridge market need to research, be a source of technology commercialization
  • Integrate concepts of entrepreneurship, business development and market commercialization
  • Provide connection of many activities already in place: learn start-up, entrepreneurship, launch boxes, Ben Franklin innovation park …
  • Connection integrated learning by domain areas to accelerate the development of new innovative companies and technologies


  • New opportunities for faculty and students to engage in market commercialization
  • Students have job and research opportunities as part of education – skill and market ready
  • University new revenue streams, license of IP to commercial exit for higher return, higher risk
  • Ability for one or more companies to partner with start-ups to mix technology, innovative new ideas and build an equity position