Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Scientists Benefit as Much as Students from “Cleantech to Market” Program

Better Solar team members (left to right) Stephanie Rohrs, Allen Birsch, Christian Sjogren and Taejoon Park take questions from the audience after making a pitch for the mock company they formed for the Cleantech to Market business class. (photos by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)
Better Solar team members (left to right) Stephanie Rohrs, Allen Birsch, Christian Sjogren and Taejoon Park take questions from the audience after making a pitch for the mock company they formed for the Cleantech to Market business class. (photos by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)

Abstract:
Launched as a pilot project at Berkeley Lab, the Cleantech to Market program is finishing its first semester as an official class at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and it's safe to say the students learned more than they expected on how to take a technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. What was less expected is how much the scientists got out of the program.

Scientists Benefit as Much as Students from “Cleantech to Market” Program

Berkeley, CA | Posted on May 18th, 2010

"It was phenomenal," said Cyrus Wadia, co-director of the C2M program. "They absorbed more information than I ever expected. Then they took my ideas and put a creative spin on them, and went in a direction I hadn't even thought of."

Five students took a nanosolar invention by Wadia, who is working at the White House Office of Science and Technology while on a one-year leave from Berkeley Lab, and developed a market strategy and investment pitch around it, after conducting exhaustive market research. Their conclusion: to position the thin film solar technology for the off-grid market in rural areas of developing countries, such as India.

Similarly, a group of students worked on a thin film silicon solar invention with physicists Alex Zettl, Marvin Cohen and Steve Louie of the Materials Sciences Division and built a mock company around it, which they named Better Silicon. "But for us, this wasn't just an exercise," said Zettl. "We're ready to go. They came up with appropriate business models we thought made sense. I was impressed with how quickly they were up to speed."

Their presentations were delivered last Friday to an audience of scientists, faculty and energy industry professionals. Started as a pilot project by Berkeley Lab's Technology Transfer Department, the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative and Haas professor Catherine Wolfram, Cleantech to Market became so popular that it is now housed at the Energy Institute at Haas and was offered as a class for the first time this semester. Nearly 120 students applied for 42 seats. "It's closer to an incubator than a class," said program co-director Bev Alexander. "We are receiving many requests to expand."

Students were assigned to work on one of 10 technologies—half from Berkeley Lab and half from UC Berkeley. The majority of students were in the business school, with a handful coming from programs in law, engineering, sciences and energy and resources. "We were very intentional about matching students with technologies," said Alexander. "We selected them as if we were creating a company."

No real startups have emerged from C2M so far, but some interest is starting to emerge. More importantly, the program provides a new pathway for commercializing the inventions produced by Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists, a path that is more time-consuming than many scientists realize and requires more in-depth research than the technology transfer offices usually have time for.

"The students have provided a deep dive not only into the technologies but also into a broad variety of business models, which is very useful for our scientists," said Cheryl Fragiadakis, director of Berkeley Lab's Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management Department.

Of course the most important product of the program is the students themselves, who leave C2M savvy about commercializing early-stage technologies, not only giving them a head start, but helping to propel the larger clean tech mission in Berkeley and beyond. "Our collective opportunity in the Berkeley area—on campus, in the labs and across the East Bay Green Corridor—is to continue building our cleantech entrepreneurial community, similar to efforts at Caltech [the California Institute of Technology] and Stanford," said Alexander. "We want to help do that specifically around energy."

Berkeley Lab materials scientist Ramamoorthy Ramesh, who participated in C2M last year and plans to do so again this year, said the research and recommendations provided by the students were very valuable. "When I was at the University of Maryland, I did a similar program, and they charged me $3,000," he said. "The [Berkeley] students were fantastic. One was ready to go do a startup with me."

Industry participation is a key element to the program's success. "The program exceeded my expectations by far," said MBA candidate Cristian Sjogren, who worked on the Better Silicon team and plans to start a solar company in his native Chile. "We're very lucky to have worked with among the top scientists in the world today. And we met with venture capitalists, who gave feedback on our projects, and also lawyers on intellectual property. I could never have gotten that in another course."

Some credit the class with influencing their career direction. "This class has given me access to clean energy. It helped me make the transitions MBAs are always trying to make," said MBA candidate Carlo Woods, who used to work in finance and accounting. "My internship this summer is with a solar firm."

Another student team was assigned a different sort of technology: OpenADR, or Open Automated Demand Response, a communications specification developed at Berkeley Lab to help buildings save power during peak times, which is now in use in more than 200 large facilities in California.

"The team's assignment was to find ways to accelerate national deployment of this free technology to utilities and control companies," said Rish Ghatikar from Berkeley Lab, who assisted the students with the project. "It's different since it is a non-proprietary technology with a lot of societal benefits."

The students produced a 35-page report as well as a list of the top 10 barriers to adoption and suggestions to overcome each one. One of their recommended actions was to launch a third-party nonprofit to focus on outreach and managing the perceptions of OpenADR.

"Marketing and storytelling are not what the Berkeley Lab people are brilliant at, so they need to find partners," said student Laura Schewel, who is getting a degree in Energy & Resources. "This project illustrates why we need people to buckle down and execute in the energy field."

Mary Ann Piette, who helped develop OpenADR, plans to pursue some of the recommendations. "It's extremely valuable," she said. "We don't think the way they do. We have explored many of their ideas, but we need a broad portfolio of outreach strategies."

Lab researchers with intellectual property or ideas that might be commercialized in the clean tech arena who are interested in participating in the C2M program should contact the Technology Transfer Department at

####

About Berkeley Lab
Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the DOE Office of Science. Visit our Website at www.lbl.gov.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Julie Chao
(510) 486-6491

Copyright © Berkeley Lab

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Light pulses control graphene's electrical behavior: Finding could allow ultrafast switching of conduction, and possibly lead to new broadband light sensors August 1st, 2014

President Obama Meets U.S. Laureates of 2014 Kavli Prizes August 1st, 2014

Stanford researchers seek 'Holy Grail' in battery design: Pure lithium anode closer to reality with development of protective layer of interconnected carbon domes August 1st, 2014

Air Force’s 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

Thin films

Nanostructured metal-oxide catalyst efficiently converts CO2 to methanol: Highly reactive sites at interface of 2 nanoscale components could help overcome hurdle of using CO2 as a starting point in producing useful products July 31st, 2014

Oregon chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution: Solution-based inorganic process could drive more efficient electronics and solar devices July 21st, 2014

Even geckos can lose their grip July 9th, 2014

Shrinky Dinks close the gap for nanowires July 1st, 2014

Academic/Education

University of Manchester selects Anasys AFM-IR for coatings and corrosion research July 30th, 2014

Haydale Announces Collaboration Agreement with Swansea University’s Welsh Centre for Printing and Coatings (WCPC) July 12th, 2014

STFC takes delivery of the 100th Hitachi Tabletop SEM in the UK July 3rd, 2014

Innovation Management and the Emergence of the Nanobiotechnology Industry July 1st, 2014

Announcements

Light pulses control graphene's electrical behavior: Finding could allow ultrafast switching of conduction, and possibly lead to new broadband light sensors August 1st, 2014

President Obama Meets U.S. Laureates of 2014 Kavli Prizes August 1st, 2014

Stanford researchers seek 'Holy Grail' in battery design: Pure lithium anode closer to reality with development of protective layer of interconnected carbon domes August 1st, 2014

Air Force’s 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

Energy

Nanostructured metal-oxide catalyst efficiently converts CO2 to methanol: Highly reactive sites at interface of 2 nanoscale components could help overcome hurdle of using CO2 as a starting point in producing useful products July 31st, 2014

From Narrow to Broad July 30th, 2014

Oregon chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution: Solution-based inorganic process could drive more efficient electronics and solar devices July 21st, 2014

Steam from the sun: New spongelike structure converts solar energy into steam July 21st, 2014

Events/Classes

International Conference in Nanomaterials and Technologies CNT 2014 August 1st, 2014

Arrowhead to Report Fiscal 2014 Third Quarter Financial Results- Conference Call Scheduled for Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - July 31st, 2014

FLAG-ERA and TNT2014 join efforts: Graphene Networking at its higher level in Barcelona: Encourage the participation in a joint transnational call July 30th, 2014

FEI Unveils New Solutions for Faster Time-to-Analysis in Metals Research July 30th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

From Narrow to Broad July 30th, 2014

Steam from the sun: New spongelike structure converts solar energy into steam July 21st, 2014

Making dreams come true: Making graphene from plastic? July 2nd, 2014

Shrinky Dinks close the gap for nanowires July 1st, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE