Thursday, May 25, 2017

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Students and researchers converse during a CSU I-Corps workshop earlier this year. (Credit: California State University) Students and researchers converse during a CSU I-Corps workshop earlier this year. (Credit: California State University)
 


Opening the Entrepreneurship Pipeline to Underrepresented Researchers

SDSU will host the 2017 Bio-Entrepreneurship Workshop designed to promote inclusion of underrepresented minorities in biotechnology.
By SDSU News Team
 

“This workshop will provide the tools for turning these innovative ideas into commercially viable solutions that lead to rewarding careers and economic growth.”

Last month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced eight new Inclusive Entrepreneurship supplemental awards under the Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program, including one to California State University I-Corps, a member of the National Innovation Network. Students and researchers from San Diego State University will benefit from the award, which is designed to “increase participation and promote inclusion of underrepresented populations in the National Innovation Network.”

As part of the grant, SDSU will host a June 2017 Bio-Entrepreneurship Workshop for a diverse group of early-career researchers during this year’s Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Conference.

The workshop is being held in response to a key finding of the 2016 California Talent Report, which cites concerns from life science industry executives about “future talent from groups that are already underrepresented (African American, Hispanic and female) in STEM fields. Many recognize … the industry needs to do more to engage these underrepresented populations.”

“We are looking forward to hosting life science researchers from universities nationwide at San Diego State University,” said Susan Baxter, executive director of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB), which houses the CSU I-Corps program. "The workshop will help unmask the skills, resources and networks needed to commercialize research-based ideas.”

Stanley Maloy, SDSU’s dean of the College of Sciences, added that "the unique perspectives of diverse teams can generate creative insights into important problems. This workshop will provide the tools for turning these innovative ideas into commercially viable solutions that lead to rewarding careers and economic growth.”  

During the 2.5-day Bio-Entrepreneurship Workshop, participants will learn about evidence-based entrepreneurship and value proposition design, pillars of the curriculum offered by I-Corps sites and nodes nationwide. The workshop will pair participants and biotechnology industry experts in working teams. After formulating value propositions, teams will test assumptions on the BIO 2017 exhibition floor.

CSUPERB will work with the E. E. Just Life Sciences Society, an initiative of the Center for Healthcare Innovation (CHI), and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) to recruit workshop participants nationwide.  

“This bio-entrepreneurship workshop is ideal for our population of students,” said Avery August, ABRCMS chair and professor at Cornell University and CSU Los Angeles alumnus. "It complements our efforts to broaden access to career options as an integral part of the STEM learning experience.”

The 2017 Bio-Entrepreneurship Workshop will be held June 19-21, 2017, at SDSU. The NSF grant will cover participants’ travel to and from San Diego, lodging and meals. For information on how to apply, visit the CSUPERB website.