March/April 2003 Newsletter

Dear Friend of the Deshpande Center,

The Center continues to make great progress since our last newsletter. We have just returned from a media tour in the Bay Area, and are planning the Deshpande IdeaStream Symposium 2003, which has been moved up to May 13-14 (more details to come).

The March newsletter focuses on our latest grant announcement and a few exciting events coming up.

In This Issue

  • Spring 2003 Grant Announcements
  • Reminder: Ignition Forum on Portable Energy - March 10
  • Faculty Entrepreneurship Workshop - March 13
  • Building More Bridges Between Engineering and Sloan Schools

Spring 2003 Grant Announcements

On March 3, the Deshpande Center announced the latest grant awards. Eight faculty members received funding for a wide range of emerging technologies, including tiny technology, information technology, and energy innovations. Congratulations to our latest winners!

The next grant deadline is June 9, for funding starting in the fall. Please note: grant applications must be submitted by faculty members from the MIT School of Engineering, and the research must be done at MIT.

Reminder: Ignition Forum on Portable Energy - March 10
On Monday, March 10 at 4:30 PM, the Deshpande Center will host an Ignition Forum on Portable Energy in the Bartos Theatre, in the Media Lab. The event is open to the public.

This is the first of what we hope will become an ongoing series of Ignition Forums that bring industry challenges and ideas to MIT. The objective is to spark new inventions that address real market opportunities.

Each forum will focus on a particular technology or industry area, with a panel of experts comprised of investors, analysts, and thought leaders in that industry. This first Ignition Forum will focus on Portable Energy, and we have a dynamite panel:

Prof. Jeff Tester - Dept. of Chemical Engineering

Brian Barnett -Managing Director -TIAX, LLC
Jason Howard - Energy Technologies Manager, Motorola
David Prend - Partner, Rockport Capital Partners
Kailash Shukla - Power Engineer, US Army OFW-TPO

The panelists will discuss market opportunities for batteries, fuel cells, micro-turbines, micro-reactors, and similar disruptive technologies in portable power in the next 2-4 years. The following special guests also plan to attend: Dr. Desh Deshpande and Profs. Yet-Ming Chiang, Marty Schmidt, Ely Sachs, and Yang Shao-Horn.

After the Ignition Forum, the Deshpande Center will join MIT TechLink and the TinyTech Clubs to co-host a networking reception, where students, faculty, and the business community can discuss possible solutions to the challenges posed during the forum. The Deshpande Center will be favorably inclined to fund proposals that arise from these Ignition Forums.

Faculty Entrepreneurship Workshop - March 13

The Deshpande Faculty Entrepreneurship Workshop last month was such a success that we've decided to turn it into a series. We'd like to thank the 25+ faculty members that participated, and send our appreciation to Prof. Robert Langer for an excellent talk about the challenges and successes he has experienced starting his companies.

On Thursday, March 13, from 12-1:30 PM, Prof. Steve Senturia will give a talk entitled "From Academia to Commercial Enterprise: A Case Study on Polychromix," followed by discussion. Lunch will be provided.

The Workshops are restricted to MIT faculty with an interest in starting companies. Faculty members with or without start-up experience are welcome.

Building More Bridges Between Engineering and Sloan Schools
Every semester, the 15.390 New Enterprises class, taught by Noubar Afeyan, Chairman and CEO of Flagship Ventures, requires students to write business plans. They are eager to develop business ideas from emerging technologies, but many lament the lack of good solid ideas. Ironic, given that $750 million in innovative research occurs on the MIT campus every year! So The Deshpande Center has partnered with the New Enterprises class to help bridge that gap.

Early this semester, Deshpande Center grant applicants were given the opportunity to present their ideas in the class, get feedback, and team up with entrepreneurs to provide the technologies for exciting new business plans.

The class received almost a dozen new business ideas. By May, the faculty will have much more compelling business cases for their research, and the students will have written business plans based on innovative technologies being developed on the MIT campus. The students will present the plans to Boston-area venture capitalists at the end of the semester.

We're excited to see so many opportunities for bringing the engineering and business communities together!

Best wishes,

Krisztina Holly
Executive Director
Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation