One of the principal ways in which universities can positively impact society is through the commercialization of inventions derived through university research. This enables the public to benefit from scientific innovation. Scientific research can be developed into useful products such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, software products and hardware.
During the course of their studies, graduate students often have novel discoveries or develop inventions that may have a commercial value. The Innovation Center has a number of resources to assist graduate student inventors on the commercialization of their inventions. These resources include access to commercialization grant and investment opportunities and mentoring and assistance through the startup company formation process. Spartan Innovations is part of the MSU Foundation and is a specialized group within the Innovation Center that is tasked specifically with assisting MSU inventors, whether they be faculty, graduate students or staff, in the formation of startup companies.
The first step in the commercialization process is to submit an invention disclosure form with MSU Technologies. In consultation with the relevant technology manager and the Spartan Innovations startup group, the inventor can determine whether the appropriate path forward is a startup or license to an existing company.
Additionally, many graduate students are seeking opportunities to gain experience in technology commercialization while pursuing their studies. The two principle opportunities that are available to graduate students are the Spartan Innovations Venture Fellows program and the MSU Technologies Internship program.