Capstone Engineer - Fall 2014

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Transferring Ideas To Society To Benefit The College’s Educational Mission

atalie Anderson comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her parents own and manage their own company, but she came to The University of Alabama to study chemical engineering, not business. Now, though, the third-year student is coupling her science and engineering studies with a crash course in business development as an intern for the UA Office for Technology Transfer, or OTT. There, Anderson works to determine if intellectual property from the academic research at the University can be protected and result in a marketable product for a specific industrial need. “It has been an eye-opening experience seeing the business side of science and engineering ideas,” she said. “I have been able to witness how certain scientific innovations have the potential to enter market and become commercial. “I now realize that there are various factors, in addition to the more scientific variables that are taken into consideration when deciding to invest in an idea,” Anderson said. “I am more aware of how much business can affect and intertwine with engineering through my experiences with OTT.” Anderson, a native of Kingwood, Texas, is part of the growing side of UA and the College of Engineering devoted to taking ideas percolated in an academic lab and transferring them to industry and society. In the past eight years, for instance, patent applications coming from the College have increased twentyfold. Intellectual property disclosures, which were afterthoughts decades ago, have increased, and real, licensed businesses have sprung from the College. “Intellectual property is a byproduct of the education process,” said Dr. John Wiest, associate dean of research and graduate studies. “We have a lot of smart people in the College and the entire University who

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By Adam Jones


{ The University of Alabama }

{ Capstone Engineer • Fall 2014 }