Turning research into real-world solutions with market value is the focus of an intensive, three-week workshop that kicked off today at the University of Tennessee’s Cherokee Farm.
UT Knoxville is hosting the event for the first time after joining the National Science Foundation-funded “Innovation Corps” program in June. For some participants with start-up ideas, there’s a potential prize, too. NSF-funded grants of $50,000 are possible for participants whose ideas and plans for turning them into reality are deemed promising enough to win the cash to pilot them.
Scientists and engineers representing Georgia Tech, Louisiana State University and Tennessee Tech University are hearing from experts on thinking through and launching a startup. Participants will then conduct 20 customer discovery phone interviews to test their ideas with customers for evaluation.
The lineup kicked off with a welcome from UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport.
“I’d like to spend every day welcoming innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs who are thinking about tomorrow and what kinds of needs can be met and what kinds of jobs are going to be created,” Davenport said. “There’s no better incentive than a need, a problem, around which to develop a solution. I’m excited that the University of Tennessee is bringing people together to think in terms of the end user, the applications and what use they might be.”