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Venture Capitalists Return to Backing Science Start-Ups

Mike Massee/XCOR Aerospace Vestaron makes an eco-friendly pesticide derived from spider venom. Bagaveev uses 3-D printers to make rocket engines for nanosatellites. Transatomic Power is developing a next-generation reactor that runs on nuclear waste. They all have one thing in common: money from Silicon Valley venture capitalists. After years of shying away from science, engineering and clean-technology start-ups, investors are beginning to take an interest in them again, raising hopes…

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NSF awards first grants in new tech transfer program

A “valley of death” is well-known to entrepreneurs–the lull between government funding for research and industry support for prototypes and products. To confront this problem, in 2013 the National Science Foundation (NSF) created a new program called InTrans to extend the life of the most high-impact NSF-funded research and help great ideas transition from lab to practice. Today, in partnership with Intel Corporation, NSF announced the first InTrans award of…

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NIH and NSF launch Innovation Corps curriculum

A new collaboration between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will give NIH-funded researchers training to help them evaluate their scientific discoveries for commercial potential with the aim of accelerating the translation of biomedical innovations into applied health technologies. I-Corps™ at NIH is a pilot of the NSF Innovation Corps™ (I-Corps™) program specially tailored for biomedical research. Academic researchers and entrepreneurs with Small Business…

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Boosting knowledge transfer in the EU

Europe faces two existential challenges: (1) how to create sustainable growth given the vast overhang of public and private debt and (2) how to do this given the transformational impact of disruptive technologies (e.g. the impact of the newly emerging Key Enabling Technologies) on traditional models for business and public sector organizations (e.g. energy and health), banks, universities and public research organizations (PROs). Asia and North America face similar challenges.…

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Hatching Ideas, and Companies, by the Dozens at M.I.T.

How do you take particles in a test tube, or components in a tiny chip, and turn them into a $100 million company? Dr. Robert Langer, 64, knows how. Since the 1980s, his Langer Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has spun out companies whose products treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease and schizophrenia, among other diseases, and even thicken hair. The Langer Lab is on the front lines of…

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Translational Science Making Impacts

Translational research is an exciting field that has made significant strides over the last decade. In theory, the translational research continuum covers everything from basic discovery through adoption in all fields of science. In practice—in terms of what actually gets funded and where the focus for this kind of work has been—translational research is mostly happening in early stage health sciences, helping accelerate discovery and broaden the application of new…

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UW hopes new leader will boost spinoffs from labs

When Michael Young took over as president, the University of Utah was a bit player at parlaying inventions into products. As he departs for the top job at the University of Washington, Young’s old school is a star. A recent national survey ranked Utah tops in the nation at spinning off new businesses, ahead of such perennial powerhouses as MIT and Stanford University. Officials from scores of other universities and…

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