UAB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship holds launch event

Institute_for_Innovation_sThe University of Alabama at Birmingham today officially launched the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE). Approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees in February 2013, this endeavor has been a campus-wide collaboration supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and the Collat School of Business.

The institute is an expansion on the UAB Research Foundation, which manages intellectual property at UAB. In this capacity, the institute will create and foster an entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem integrating the UABRF’s existing strengths and capabilities, enhancing and facilitating service and technology commercialization. The institute team will also work to create new experiential learning opportunities for students across campus, as well as encourage and cultivate interdisciplinary scholarly research among faculty and clinicians.

David Winwood, Ph.D., CEO of the research foundation, will be executive director of the new institute, and Kathy Nugent, Ph.D., director of the biotechnology program at UAB, the institute’s new managing director.

“The institute will bring a cross-disciplinary technology transfer and academic approach to a new elevated level,” said Winwood. “We will focus on technology based economic development utilizing core academic and research strengths to ensure rapid development of new ideas, products and ground breaking technologies discovered at UAB.”

“Most tech transfer functions add commercialization help for would-be entrepreneurs, but few make commercialization a cornerstone of field-work-based education,” said Nugent. “Toward this end, the IIE will engage faculty and students by creating interdisciplinary approaches to learning that expose students to industry-specific scenarios. We define experiential learning models as real-world projects with commercial potential. In this model, faculty, students work on developing products and technologies from idea to commercialization.”

“The institute represents a wonderful opportunity for UAB, in a multidisciplinary way, to turn intellectual property into new businesses,” said Eric Jack, Ph.D., dean of the Collat School of Business. “The business school is completely on board and will use its skills and expertise to provide the kind of education to researchers and students that gives them the confidence to start new ventures.”

The IIE will expand on joint programs offered by the UAB Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Business and School of Health Professions where student teams develop potential solutions to clinical needs (prototype devices), write business plans and complete market intelligence research. UAB has also partnered with the Birmingham Business Alliance to launch programs to provide students with access to internships at more than 1,000 Birmingham-area employers.

UAB officially launched the institute on Oct. 1, 2013, with an event featuring Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., senior vice president for research & innovation at the University of South Florida. He is also the founder and president of the National Academy of Inventors, which encourages inventors to file patents, seeks to enhance the visibility of non-profit research centers and mentors innovative students.

“It’s a great honor to be here for the launch of the IIE, which we believe will become a great asset to Birmingham and the national research community,” said Sanberg. “Inventions are more likely to benefit society when they are backed up by smart systems like those that will soon be operating here as part of the IIE. It’s very exciting.” 

UAB innovation saving millions of gallons of water monthly

UAB Campus at sunriseThe University of Alabama at Birmingham has come up with a novel way to save the university tens of thousands of dollars and millions of gallons of water. The Facilities Division created a network of tanks and piping that captures and uses ground water and condensate from cooling systems.

UAB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship holds launch event

“The institute will bring a cross-disciplinary technology transfer and academic approach to a new elevated level,” said Winwood. “We will focus on technology based economic development utilizing core academic and research strengths to ensure rapid development of new ideas, products and ground breaking technologies discovered at UAB.”

Injury vs. Innovation

Candace FloydAt age 17, Candace Floyd, Ph.D., worked as an emergency medical technician and a hospital volunteer. She saw wreck victims and shaken babies who had suffered central nervous system trauma, and she resolved to help them. Candace Floyd aims to accelerate breakthrough studies in spinal cord injuries at UAB with the T.J. Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program

UAB students invent a wheelchair that helps children with disabilities get moving

Kids get moving
When Jennifer Sheppard learned that University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering and School of Business students created a motorized wheelchair for 1- to 3-year-olds, she was eager to let her daughter give it a try.

Improving online communication security

saxena cisco webUAB researchers are working to improve the end-to-end security of an increasingly common means of communication. Through a two-year, $150,000 project funded by Cisco Systems, researchers in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) are designing mechanisms to secure voice- and video-over-Internet (VoIP) communications, such as Skype or Jabber.

Improving creativity
— in the process

  • Expand teaching and understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship

  • Foster experiential learning in collaboration with community partners

  • Develop a richer process for vetting ideas

  • Streamline the process for identifying innovative products and services

  • Simplify access to resources that nurture and accelerate development of successful companies

  • Offer leadership and management coaching

  • Embrace proactive, new and unique strategies for increasing IP and licensing opportunities


Developing a culture that fuels and sustains innovation