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Monday, June 9, 2008

Georgia Tech’s TI:GER program

Last month, I was fortunate to be able to attend a workshop on technology management education that was held at Georgia Tech. The workshop emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of such education. Earlier I blogged about Harvard’s brand new technology commercialization program, instituted by Lee Fleming and his colleagues.

But with the press of work, I didn’t write up what was covered about our host’s program, the Georgia Tech TI:GER program. The program was initially funded by a National Science Foundation IGERT grant, but with the expiration of the grant is seeking replacement funding. Host Marie Thursby created the TI:GER program, based on her earlier program at Purdue.

Eccb810Ae7A0352Ce0Ed9110. Aa160 .LPart of the importance of the program was transfer to other programs. One mechanism for that was the publication of a book of readings edited by Thursby and Gary Libecap. The chapters are among the readings used in the three semester-length core courses for the TI:GER students.

The TI:GER program is jointly sponsored by Georgia Tech and the Emory Law school. Each interdisciplinary team includes a Georgia Tech MBA student, two Emory law students, and a science or engineering PhD student (3rd or 4th year) from Georgia Tech. The learning goals for the team members are:
  • S&E PhDs: become aware of business and legal issues, produce a dissertation of technical merit and market relevance and (perhaps) commercialize their own technology;
  • MBAs, JDs: get experience in technical research setting; and
  • All: communication/team skills
So far the program has included 190 students in six years. One of the teams — Syzygy Memory Plastics, with Ph.D. student Walter Voit explaining the potential of the technology to make objects that will spring into any shape.

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