January/February 2006 Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Departure: Krisztina Holly Plans move to USC, new Executive Director search begins
  • IdeaStream 2006: Call for Innovation Showcase™ Applications
  • Spring 2006 i-Teams Projects Announced
  • Ensuring Sustainability: "Friends of the Deshpande Center"

Departure: Krisztina Holly Plans move to USC, new Executive Director search begins

You have all heard from Krisztina the exciting news of her new position with broad responsibilities for entrepreneurship and technology licensing at the University of Southern California. Krisztina has done an outstanding job at MIT in developing the Deshpande Center as an internationally recognized Center supporting innovative ideas on a path from innovation to impact. Krisztina will bring to USC great leadership and will leave MIT with many enduring friendships. This is not only an exciting opportunity for Krisztina and USC but also an opportunity to pass on the experience and knowledge that we have gained here to a growing network of university programs addressing the challenge of catalyzing technological innovation. We will miss her greatly.

The Deshpande Center has itself functioned as a start up, and we look back over the past 4 years with great satisfaction. We have funded 47 projects that have moved onto nine new companies attracting $40 million in venture funding. This would not have happened without the support of our catalyst volunteers working with the more than 200 faculty and students engaged in these projects. The Deshpande Center has become an important component of the Innovation Ecosystem and a collaborator with the MIT Entrepreneurship Center , the Technology Licensing Office, MIT Venture Mentoring Service and many student organizations.

We have begun the search for Krisztina's replacement as Executive Director of the Deshpande Center. Much remains to be done in catalyzing MIT innovation, with new ideas surfacing and needing support and new opportunities for collaborations evolving. If you know anyone who might be interested in this position, please have them apply online right away so they can be considered. Details of the position are posted on the MIT jobs website and can be found here.
Time is of the essence, as we are finalizing the pool of candidates now and aiming to fill the position by the end of the month. If you feel someone is a really strong candidate, feel free to send us a separate note of recommendations. This is an exciting opportunity to work with outstanding people within and outside of MIT.

I am exceedingly grateful for all that Krisztina has done for MIT, its faculty, and its students. I know you will all join me in congratulating Krisztina and offering your best wishes in this exciting step in her career.

Prof. Charles L. Cooney
Professor of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering and Faculty Director, Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

IdeaStream 2006: Call for Innovation Showcase™ Applications
Do you have an innovative technology or invention that you think would make a good business?
The Deshpande Center is providing the opportunity for MIT researchers to pitch their innovative technology ideas to the high-level attendees at the IdeaStream Symposium on April 13, 2006.
The Innovation Showcase is a great way for early-stage ideas to get market feedback at the research stage and without writing a full business plan. Participants will get visibility for their work, make connections, and get real-world feedback on how they might be able to commercialize their ideas.

Three breakout sessions in the afternoon of April 13th will each feature 4-6 technology ideas selected the pool of applicants. The short (10 minute) presentations should focus on both the technology and the potential commercial impact of the technology. After the breakout sessions, a long 45-minute networking break will enable presenters to present a poster and share ideas with our distinguished attendees.

Spring 2006 i-Teams Projects Announced
Five diverse projects will be the subject of this spring's i-Teams class. The projects cover innovations in areas as diverse as drug discovery, cleantech, and information technology.
This hands-on class is a collaborative effort between the Deshpande Center and the MIT Entrepreneurship Center . Each semester, we select five research projects and build high performance student teams for each; the students evaluate commercial feasibility and develop go-to-market strategies for the innovations.

Ensuring Sustainability: "Friends of the Deshpande Center."
In 2002, the Deshpande Center was formed thanks to a generous gift from Jaishree and Desh Deshpande. The gift was an expendable one, to establish the program over five years. The good news is, we have established excellent programs and shown that the model works, and we have even extended the life of the gift by many years. In addition, we have begun to see gifts come in to support the vision of the Center. However, we still depend on the generosity of our supporters to continue enhancing the impact of MIT innovation.

On December 1, 2005, the Deshpande Center announced the launch of the "Friends of the Deshpande Center." This program will be a critical component in ensuring that the Center has a sustainable source of funding to support its mission of increasing the impact of MIT technologies in the marketplace.

We are deeply grateful to our Friends both for their financial and personal support of our activities.