October 2012

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Introduction to NCIIA for cleantech faculty

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance has operated for 16 years at the convergence of entrepreneurship education and university innovation. We have played important roles in the development of courses and programs throughout university STEM disciplines through our grants program for faculty educators and with our annual conference. We are nationally known for our student E-Team program that funds university undergraduate and graduate student innovators with critical proof of concept support. We welcome inquires about this program from both student and faculty-student teams.

We have been working to make a more concerted effort to reach out to faculty in the broadly characterized “cleantech” sector and explore how our faculty and students grants programs and our other initiatives can help improve the teaching of innovation and entrepreneurship and support commercialization outcomes.

Some of the work that we have been doing in this field is with the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, based in Oregon at Oregon State and University of Oregon but inclusive of several other notable institutions including Washington University St. Louis and Rutgers University. For this center, we are providing our “Lens of the Market” and “InnovationLab” programs to assist faculty and graduate students in understanding research to innovation to commercialization pathways.

As a research faculty you may also be interested in having us provide such programs on your campus.

For faculty interested in developing courses and programs in technology innovation and entrepreneurship, we have a grants program that provides up to $50,000 in seed grants to initiate such programs. You may also be interested in some of our other programs, such as our Lean LaunchPad Educators Program.

For cleantech ventures we have recently initiated a new offering with Village Capital and our VentureWell program to provide support and funding for early stage ventures emerging from the university environment, as well as other early stage cleantech ventures.

Finally, our annual conference is perhaps the best attended meeting for faculty from a science and engineering background to learn about best practices for developing courses and programs in technology innovation. The conference takes place March 22-23, 2013 in Washington, D.C. We’ll post here soon additional information about how you as a faculty member in a cleantech related discipline might gain particular benefit from the program.

In order to apply for NCIIA grants and attend events at a reduced cost, you need to become a member. Students and faculty from member institutions are welcome to:

  • Apply for NCIIA grants.
  • Attend NCIIA-sponsored events for a reduced fee.
  • Access free or reduced-fee services from our resource partners.
  • Tap into a network of like-minded professionals to share ideas and educational strategies.

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Accelerating Accelerators: the Sustainability and Scalability of Accelerators

The last few years have seen a dramatic expansion in the number of accelerator programs and exponential rise in those applying to these programs. This has led to several questions about this burgeoning industry of innovation. Is it sustainable? What are the limits on expansion and what is the best method to grow? Finally, what makes a “good” accelerator and as an applicant what should you look for in a program?
Hear from four different programs as they offer their views this Thursday, October 18 at Venture Café. Andrew Foote from Village Capital, our partner in the Village Capital/VentureWell - Boston program will join Melissa Withers from BetaSpring, Ateet Adhikari from Healthbox, and Jeremy Bersin from MassChallenge in a roundtable moderated by Mike Norman founder of WeFunder.

Baisikeli Ugunduzi releases a new video

Baisikeli Ugunduzi, the tubeless tire E-Team, has a new video and a fundraising campaign--check it out!


Sanergy making good progress

The Sanergy team from MIT continues to reach toward their goal of providing hygienic, accessible, affordable sanitation for everyone in Nairobi's urban slums. In the last month, they have:

    •    Sold 103 Fresh Life Toilets and franchised to 50 entrepreneurs
    •    Created 122 jobs
    •    Removed 170 metric tons of waste from the community
    •    Served 1,000,000 paying customers with hygienic sanitation

Reaching these numbers relies heavily on their Fresh Life Operators successfully running Fresh Life Toilets. Mercyline Atieno (pictured above) is one of their newest Fresh Life Operators. Mercyline runs a vegetable stand and rents out stalls in the Viwandani section of Mukuru slum. When they spoke to her about why she wanted to open a Fresh Life Toilet, she told them how she wanted to give her children--particularly her girls--choices that she did not have due to limited education. She plans to use the income from the operation of the toilet for school fees. Mercyline's toilet is now up and running, and she has joined their FLO advisory council to represent her section of Mukuru.

Check out this Voice of America spotlight on Sanergy.

Balde a Balde and Arsenic Crisis teams win Tech Awards

NCIIA E-Teams Balde a Balde (Art Center College of Design) and Arsenic Crisis (Lehigh University) were recently named Tech Awards laureates by VentureBeat. According to VentureBeat the Tech Awards are awarded each year, "to honor innovators and entrepreneurs who make a difference around the world in education, medicine, struggling economies, and social services." Congratulations to the teams!

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University Innovation Summit

A One-day Event for Leaders in University Research-based Innovation

NCIIA partnered with the University of Maryland - College Park, George Washington University, and Virginia Tech to host the University Innovation Summit, bringing together leaders in university research-based innovation to catalyze the growth of effective ecosystems supporting their work.

Short panel presentations were followed by group discussion and small group work to develop ideas for resources, programs and processes that can help improve innovation ecosystems in the topic area. Participants helped achieve the objective of a highly productive meeting that produced useful ideas to inform a report and whitepaper for NSF, NCIIA and the participating institutions. 

Summit resources:

  • Session slide decks
  • Search Twitter for #uisummit for a detailed account of the day's proceedings. We had a lively group of Summit participants engaged throughout the day, providing a rich record of the day's highlights.

DATE:  November 8, 2012

TIME:  8:00 am - 5:30 pm

LOCATION: The Virginia Tech Research Center & the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel, N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA


8:00 am

Registration and check in

Westin Reception Area

8:30 am

Welcome and overview: Building the pipeline

Westin Ballroom

Phil Weilerstein,
Executive Director, NCIIA

9:00 am

New era of global science and engineering

Westin Ballroom

Dedric Carter, NSF

Subra Suresh, Director, NSF

Grace Wang
Division Director IIP, NSF

9:45 am

Teaming for innovation: Building university capacity

Westin Ballroom

Babu DasGupta
Program Director I/UCRC & I-Corps,NSF

Anita LaSalle
Program Director CNS & I-Corps, NSF

10:30 am

Priorities for improving opportunities for commercialization

Participants will break into small groups to brainstorm top issues for healthy ecosystems

Westin Ballroom

Craig Forest, GA Tech

Phil Weilerstein, Executive Director, NCIIA

11:15 am BREAK - Westin Reception Area
11:45 am

Keynote talk: Translating basic science into products and the role of diversity in making it happen

Joseph DeSimone, Director, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise; Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry, UNC;
William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, NCSU

Introduced by Alexander Nicholas, The Lemelson Foundation

Westin Ballroom

12:30 pm



at Virginia Tech Research Center (VTRC)

  Track A
Track B Track C
1:15 pm

Cutting edge ideas for university innovator-driven commercialization - panel, discussion, active engagement exercise

Dean Chang, U Maryland


Michael Poisel,
U Pennsylvania

Merrick Furst, Georgia Tech

Jim O' Connell, U Michigan

Seeding innovation: funding and resources to support emergent innovators - panel, discussion, active engagement exercise

Phil Weilerstein, NCIIA


Anita LaSalle, NSF

Aileen Huang-Saad
U Michigan


Improving intellectual property for research ventures - panel, discussion, active engagement exercise

Jim Chung, George Washington U


Mark Sedam, UNH

Gayatri Varma, U Maryland

W. Mark Crowell, U Virginia

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Going from research teams to commercialization teams- panel, discussion, active engagement exercise


Jonathan Aberman, Amplifier Ventures


Nathalie Duval-Couetil, Purdue U

Keith McGreggor
Georgia Tech

Bob Proctor, FlexEl; co-founder, Blu Venture Investors

Neil Goldsman, U Maryland; co-founder, CoolCAD, TRX Systems, FlexEl


Getting funded: Strategies for initial seed investment funding - panel, discussion, active engagement exercise


Babs Carryer, Carnegie Mellon U


John Burke, True Ventures

John Serafini, Allied Minds

Karen Kerr, USC



Mentoring: Creating an effective program - panel, discussion, active engagement exercise


Jack Lesko, Virginia Tech


Paul Olean
MIT Venture Mentor Service

Gordon McConnell
Arizona State U

Rosibel Ochoa
von Liebig Center, UCSD



4:30 pm

Return to Westin

4:45 pm

Report back and closing remarks

5:30 pm

Reception and informal networking - Westin Ballroom


TRAVEL STIPENDS: A limited number of travel stipends are available on a first-come, first-served basis for invited participants.  Stipend amounts are determined by geographical proximity and will be paid out after the workshop with proof of attendance

Baltimore/metro DC:
No stipends available
East coast, east of the Mississippi River: $650
West coast, west of the Mississippi River: $1000

Please download and fax or email a W-9 form to NCIIA before the meeting date, with a note requesting the travel stipend.  Please include to whom the check should be made and a mailing address. (Fax to: attn: Patricia Boynton, 413-587-2175; email to pboynton@nciia.org.)

Stipends are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

QUESTIONS?  Contact us.

We look forward to seeing you there!



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1261806