Albuquerque, NM – October 1, 2015. On September 21st, STC’s Internship Academy hosted a week-long visit of students and faculty from Osaka Prefecture University (OPU) in Osaka, Japan. The five students, accompanied by Professor Atsushi Ashida, attended the academy’s student internship program, an intensive five-day program designed for students who seek to gain an understanding of the role of a technology transfer office. The program is also intended to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, and is administered by STC’s experienced professional staff, as well as accomplished entrepreneurs and business professionals in the community. STC collaborates with the UNM Innovation Academy on the program.
Dr. Ashida and the students (one doctoral, three graduate, and one undergraduate) were eager to learn about technology transfer and came prepared with their own technologies (including Dr. Ashida) to present at a pitch session which was the capstone to their week of orientation, instruction and meetings. The students attending were Nguyen Quang Thinh, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering; Emmanuel Ayedoun, an undergraduate student in computer science; Tomoki Sakamoto, a graduate student in mechanical engineering; Daisuke Kino, a graduate student in materials science; and Shota Sawai, a graduate student in materials science.
“This is the third group of students from OPU to attend the internship academy. The program has become very popular at OPU because technology commercialization classes are limited at the university and STC’s program is an opportunity for these students to really learn about technology transfer. OPU now has a waiting list of students who want to come to STC to participate in the program,” said STC program director Eri Hoshi.
“We will do our best to learn and take back what we’ve learned to OPU. We want to spread these ideas across campus,” added Dr. Ashida, who is a professor in the Department of Physics & Electronics and the Research Organization for the 21st Century at OPU. “This is my first experience related to commercialization too and I want to learn how business planning for technology differs from scholarly research planning,” he added.
The agenda for the week included presentations on the various aspects of commercializing university technologies in a of technology transfer office from STC staff. The group also attended a lecture on how to pitch inventions, a presentation on Innovate ABQ, a seminar on start-ups for students, received pitch coaching, and visited local start-up Pajarito Powder, the Center for High Technology Materials, and the US-Japan smart grid site at Mesa del Sol. The students were also able to attend the 1 million cups pitch session and the UNM Innovation Academy’s start-school at local incubator FatPipe, an STC Economic Development Forum meeting, and the STC/Sandia National Labs Technology Social & Showcase, where they were able to listen to eight presentations of new joint technologies by UNM and Sandia researchers and hear feedback from local entrepreneurs and investors.
The group was especially excited to meet UNM Distinguished Professor and Sandia Fellow Dr. Jeff Brinker, a founder and pioneer of the field of sol-gel science. Students Shota Sawai and Daisuke Kino, who are materials science students, have read Dr. Brinker’s seminal textbook, Sol-Gel Science, and enthused, “He is a god of science to us!”
On September 25th, the students wrapped up their visit with a technology pitch contest in which they were able to pitch their own technologies before a panel of judges comprised of UNM Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies Stacy Sacco, UNM Innovation Academy Executive Director Rob DelCampo, local entrepreneur and Accelerate2Solutions Principal Susan Cornelius, and STC University Ventures & Engagements Manager Cara Michaliszyn.
The students pitched inventions for a super cooling technology for a plant cultivation system, a compound fertilizer from recycled phosphates, a longer-lasting battery for smart phones using mesostructured hydrophilic carbon film, a cutting edge speech recognition technology to simulate interactive virtual conversational environments to help people learning a second language, a new application to analyze fluid flow, and a low-cost and environmentally friendly solar cell.
STC will be hosting a group of 12 students from Kanamoto University’s HIGO program from November 9th through the 20th.