Penn Wharton Commercialization Workshop 2017 Aims to Make Penn More Innovative

Gene therapies for rare neurological disorders. New interventions for retinal degeneration. Reduction in hospital readmission rates. Prevention of distracted driving in teens.

These were just a few of the ideas being developed by participants in the second annual Penn Wharton Commercialization Workshop, a program offered by the Mack Institute and the office of the Vice Provost for Research at Penn. This selective workshop brings together faculty, scientists, and clinicians from across the university community who are interested in commercializing their work and launching a new venture.

“I learned how to think strategically about innovation,” said Swapnil Shewale, a postdoctoral researcher in translational medicine and human genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine. The workshop walked participants through the process of creating a successful venture, from needfinding and business model design to building a team and confronting intellectual property issues. “I came away with frameworks and tools for assessing needs and thinking through prototypes,” said David Busch, a physicist working to develop various medical devices at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

An important aspect of the program was its interdisciplinary approach. In addition to CHOP and the School of Medicine, participants hailed from Penn Nursing, Penn Engineering, the Annenberg School for Communication, the Graduate School of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Veterinary Medicine. Over time the workshop is intended to develop a community of like-minded peers to strengthen commercialization efforts across Penn. “The workshop has given me a new hub,” said one participant. “I have a much better sense of where to access resources on campus,” added Kate McDonald, a professor of pediatric nursing.

Read more about the birth of the Penn Wharton Commercialization Workshop here. If you are interested in participating in a future session, please contact us directly.

Michelle Eckert is Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Mack Institute, where she works to engage students, researchers, and corporate partners in opportunities for collaboration. Michelle received her B.A. in Art from Valparaiso University in 2007. Her background includes two AmeriCorps terms of service working to teach mathematics, computer literacy, and job readiness skills to out-of-school youth in Philadelphia, focusing particularly on promoting access to post-secondary education.

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