Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU launches innovation initiative

DU is bringing a new focus on the entrepreneurial spirit, calling on researchers, professors and students to bring innovation to the world’s markets.

Presenting a program entitled “Welcoming Entrepreneurship Into University Life” to an audience of campus leaders on Jan. 17, Senior Adviser for Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer John Coombe said it’s time to “let your light shine.”

Coombe said new partnerships with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and with St. Louis-based Washington University are part of an ongoing campus-wide commitment to bringing developments from every corner to the world stage. Patents, ideas, art and leadership should be encouraged, nurtured and brought to market, Coombe said.

“We hope to become a major Kauffman campus,” Coombe said, explaining that foundation’s role in encouraging innovation. “We hope to rekindle this entrepreneurial spirit.”

The University has also become part of an emerging collaborative called the Western TechSet. Other research institutions involved include the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Denver Health and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

But the TechSet also includes private industry, such as CH2MHill; governmental agencies, such as the Colorado Office of Economic Development; the software company CIBER Inc.; and the Cable Center, DU’s neighbor.

Campus innovators offered examples of work finding a market in the world. Art and Art History Associate Professor Rafael Fajardo explained how his department partnered with computer science to develop a computer game project that has the backing of the MTV television network. 

Rahmat Shoureshi, dean of engineering and computer science, presented a host of innovations, including an electronic monitoring system for shoes with a myriad of medical applications that’s on its way to commercial markets. 

And chemistry Professor Donald Stedman explained how his inventions for monitoring pollution are finding a niche in the private sector.

“By now, everyone knows if you don’t patent your invention, someone else will manufacture [it] without you,” he said.

Stephen Hall, DU director of technology transfer, said his office will visit personally with representatives from every college on campus to help launch the drive.

“Don’t be afraid to go public. Don’t be afraid to take a chance,” Coombe said.

Comments are closed.