Ideas and Insights from Engineering, Science, Medicine and Arts
Edited by Satish Nambisan
Chapter 3: Challenges in faculty entrepreneurship in the sciences: becoming an entrepreneur but staying at the university
Starting a company is a 100-hours-a-week endeavor and occupies your mind 24 hours a day, but a full-time faculty in today’s university is … very much full-time, too! I want to describe one possible path one might take to have the satisfaction of doing both. In a sentence, this path requires a team effort but maintains individual pride and ownership! As a faculty professor spearheading a pioneering entrepreneurial master’s program and an applied physics PhD program, I have advised or co-advised more than 50 master’s theses, doctoral theses, and postdoctoral traineeships in industrial work, been closely involved with five successful startup manufacturing companies, and spent 33 years collaborating with industry. Based on this experience I would like to propose a viable path to becoming an entrepreneur without leaving the university and without an initial invention or discovery. The way along the path is facilitated by the training we have, the teaching we do, and the two most important words may very well be “former students.” In the present chapter, I develop a series of steps for the pathway of the faculty entrepreneurship anchored at a university, the “partnered faculty entrepreneur.” My background history is introduced in the next section and the definition of entrepreneurship is given in Section III. The importance of an entrepreneurship education (Section IV) is followed by the example of our own master’s degree program in entrepreneurship (Section V).
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