Funding from the Burton Morgan Foundation will support the Novel Tech Challenge at Tulane University, which will ask students to come up with a solution for a real-world problem and to build a prototype.
Two informational sessions about the challenge will be held on Wednesday (April 30). The sessions, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., will be held in the Qatar Ballroom of the Lavin-Bernick Center on the uptown campus. Refreshments will be served.
“The work that undergraduates are doing is significant and very impressive,” says John Christie, executive director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Development
at Tulane. “They are creating things that will make the world a better place.”
Christie is working with Nicholas Altiero, dean of the School of Science and Engineering
, to launch a comprehensive challenge in the fall that will inspire students to become involved in the technology innovation process.
Participants will have access to the school’s design lab, which is now home to a 3-D printer that was purchased with funds donated by the Burton Morgan Foundation.
For each idea entered in the challenge, a team will be created to assist the innovator. A faculty member and alumni mentor will be assigned to assist the student in the technological aspects of the submission while an MBA student will help create a realistic business plan. The challenge winner will receive a $5,000 grand prize.
Christie and Altiero hope alumni will be encouraged to participate as both mentors and judges.
“Our graduates have been involved in start-up companies across the country,” says Altiero. “When I speak with them, they often wish they could have started that process and learned more about the culture of innovation while they were at Tulane. This challenge will give our students a venue to do that.”
The challenge is the first part of a comprehensive technology innovation center that would teach and employ the fundamentals of technology transfer and commercialization. Altiero hopes that this center would act as a catalyst for regional economic growth.
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