Rutgers Creates Disruptive Innovation Fund to Commercialize University Technologies; Funding Provided by Texas Entrepreneur with Intellectual Property Expertise

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Rutgers has established a “Disruptive Innovation Fund” through an agreement signed this week with IP Navigation Group of Dallas, which has committed up to $1 million to support commercialization of technologies developed at the university. The agreement calls for an executive committee to review proposals from faculty and students to award at least two grants a year of up to $500,000 each.

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Rutgers

“Our faculty and students continually create exciting technologies and innovations that have great potential in a wide range of markets, from software to pharmaceutical manufacturing, which is why we have established this fund.”

Rutgers has established a “Disruptive Innovation Fund” through an agreement signed this week with IP Navigation Group of Dallas, which has committed up to $1 million to support commercialization of technologies developed at the university.

“Our faculty and students continually create exciting technologies and innovations that have great potential in a wide range of markets, from software to pharmaceutical manufacturing, which is why we have established this fund,” said Michael Pazzani, vice president of research and economic development. “It’s the recognition of the ability of our faculty and students to solve the nation’s most important problems and bring these solutions to market that motivated IP Navigation Group to make this significant commitment.”

Erich Spangenberg, founder and chairman of IP Navigation Group, said: “Our firm believes that Rutgers is a leader in two important areas: talented faculty and students and an approach by the university’s leadership that facilitates the ability of this talent to flourish. That’s why we’re making this investment.”

Spangenberg says the intent is that the fund be “technology agnostic,” adding, “If it is a 'big' idea, we should not be limiting where the fund is deployed.”

The agreement between Rutgers and IP Navigation Group calls for an executive committee “with substantial experience in innovation and technology development, commercialization and monetization” to manage the Disruptive Innovation Fund. The panel will review proposals from faculty and students to award at least two grants a year of up to $500,000 each. Along with providing management support, the committee will work with funded innovators to help them obtain financing from other sources. An advisory committee is being formed, drawing from the region’s academic, business, investment and legal communities, particularly leaders connected to economic development in New Jersey, to work with the Disruptive Innovation Fund.

The Office of Technology Commercialization, led by Dipanjan Nag, is part of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, which promotes excellence in research at Rutgers and provides oversight for the education of the next generation of researchers. Research is fundamental to the university’s overall mission and enhances its education and service missions. Education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels is delivered by faculty directly involved in the discovery of new knowledge. Rutgers’ students and faculty bring their expertise to communities throughout New Jersey, the nation and the world, reaching out to elementary, middle and high schools, as well as to government, foundations and the corporate community.

In addition to discovery–based research, Rutgers is increasingly involved in commercialization of research through the transfer of new technologies to industry, contributing to the economic development of New Jersey and the U.S. From the discovery of streptomycin—the cure for tuberculosis—to the technology behind Ask.com, Rutgers continues to make a tremendous impact in the commercial world.

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Ed Tate

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