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April 30: Carnegie Mellon Students Create Novel Business Plans To Market Leading Edge Technologies for Entrepreneurial Startups


Chriss Swaney                

Carnegie Mellon University Students Create Novel Business Plans
To Market Leading Edge Technologies for Entrepreneurial Startups

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University students will unveil novel business plans for a cache of emerging technologies from 5 to 8:30 p.m., May 4 in room 125 of Scaife Hall on the university campus.
These emerging technology presentations are for the Decision Tools for Engineering Design and Entrepreneurship course, which marks the culmination of the semester-long development of strategic computational toolsets that assess the economic vitality of a new technology or product.
"We have nearly 40 students analyzing the commercial viability of everything from nanofiber air filters for respirator systems to plug-in hybrid vehicle batteries," said Erica R.H. Fuchs, an assistant professor of engineering and public policy (EPP). Fuchs and Mechanical Engineering and EPP Professor Jeremy J. Michalek created the new course last year to help students quantify a technical roadmap for bringing new products to the marketplace.
Ed Lynch-Bell, a Carnegie Mellon master's degree student, said the class challenges participants to design technologies that are acceptable to the marketplace. "I think we also learn from this course that there is a big difference between what we can achieve with technology and what people want. Consumers love long warranties on products," Lynch-Bell said.
Teammates Eric Biester and Max Thanhouser said the class allows students to work with real-world technologies and to bring hard data to the often-complex commercialization process of how products and enabling technologies get to market. All three students are members of the competitive graduate program Engineering & Technology Innovation Management (E&TIM), which builds on the technical strengths of engineers and scientists by providing a framework to lead, foster and manage technical innovation.
In addition to students and faculty, the creative decision tool class has found strong interest from industry. Last year, one of the five student teams was sponsored by an international company commercializing new technology out of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The company offered full-time jobs to all three of the students on the team at the end of the term. This year, with financial assistance from the Richard K. Mellon Foundation, five of the eight student teams are analyzing new technologies from the university's technology transfer office.
"This class provides critical perspective on what the costs are in commercializing some of this new technology," said Reed McManigle, manager of business development and licensing at Carnegie Mellon's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation.