The University has already established itself as a hub of research and innovation. On Oct. 13, the University is already among the top 10 colleges in the country for creating startup companies based on university-licensed inventions and technologies. And with the creation of the new Michigan Venture Center, the University will be able to do an even better job of bridging the gap between innovation and enterprise. Researchers and professors interesting in marketing their innovations should take full advantage of the Michigan Venture Center and give the state economy a much-needed edge in the field of new technology.

The Michigan Venture Center will, according to a University press release, “help faculty inventors create business plans, assess a technology’s commercialization potential, deal with intellectual property issues, attract investors and acquire gap funding to enhance the market appeal of a new technology.” Jim O’Connell, the associate director for business formation at the University’s Office of Technology Transfer, will lead the Venture Center. He hopes to increase the number of average science-based startups per year at the University from nine to 12 by giving professors new incentives and opportunities for research.

The launching of the Venture Center comes just two weeks after President Mary Sue Coleman announced in her State of the University address that the University would put more money into research than ever before. The Venture Center is a great opportunity to turn the innovations that grow out of this research money into benefits for the University, and by extension the state economy and consumers. Researchers who want to bring their products to the market will now have a better resource to connect them with businesses that can sell the product. More startups will bring enormous benefits to the University’s reputation as a place of new developments, as well as offering real technological improvements for the world.

After all, science-based startups are just what Michigan needs to carve out a niche for itself in a modernizing U.S. economy. Bringing the best and brightest minds to the state and then offering them resources to market their innovations will contribute to the transformation of the state economy into one that favors science and research. Michigan’s economy could certainly use the boost that the Venture Center will provide.

And when scientists are given the resources to make their developments widely available, everyone wins. New technologies are constantly revolutionizing the world and improving the quality of life. Scientific leaders — like the University — can always use more programs like the Venture Center to close the gap between the development and marketing stages of innovation.

Professors and researchers who are interested in patenting their work should take full advantage of what the Venture Center has to offer. Some of the country’s most interesting and important research is being done here at the University, and the Venture Center will help these exciting innovations make the leap from prototype to reality.

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