Collaborative Energy at the Y-Prize Kick-Off

yprize_kickoffSometimes looking at things with fresh eyes can lead to the best ideas.

There’s no substitute for hard-won expertise, of course, but focusing intently on a problem for a long time tends to limit one’s perspective. Outsiders often ask new types of questions, the kind of questions that can lead to a head scratch and the all-important, “Huh…I’d never thought of that before.”

The Y-Prize Competition asks students to take a fresh approach to the challenge of inventing new applications for Penn research. At last week’s Kick-Off, students from diverse corners of the Penn community gathered in the Singh Center for Nanotechnology, turning out in such large numbers that they spilled into not one but two overflow rooms. Wharton and Engineering professors, as well as CEO of Graphene Frontiers Mike Patterson, introduced the focal technologies and talked about the challenges of commercializing university research.

At the networking reception, students from different backgrounds came together to throw around nanotechnology application ideas. The atmosphere was truly one of interdisciplinary cooperation—crucial in a competition where success hinges on cross-school collaboration.

In a Daily Pennsylvanian article, students and faculty stressed the value of this opportunity for a hands-on application of both business and technology smarts. For students who missed the Kick-Off, there’s still plenty of time to get involved. The next event—an in-depth tech briefing and ideation event— is on October 6th in Huntsman Hall.