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More than 170 inventors honored at inaugural recognition event

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For the first time, the University of Delaware recognized 179 faculty and staff who are inventors on UD patents. The inaugural Inventors' Recognition was held Thursday, Oct. 8, in the Roselle Center for the Arts.

“We are building a community of inventors, and this event gave individuals a chance to create and renew friendships, make contacts and conduct business,” said David S. Weir, director of UD's Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships.

He noted the enthusiastic mood of the participants and their desire to further strengthen partnerships between UD faculty and the business and research community. Weir said the event generated a “genuine feeling among guests that it was important to be recognized and appreciated for their efforts.”

In remarks to the groups, President Patrick T. Harker thanked the inventors for their energy, innovation and passion for applied scholarship while urging them to continue the University's mission to build creative capital.

“What we're celebrating today is important,” Harker said. “It's important for the University, for the community, for national prosperity and a better quality of life.”

Harker also noted that it is the University's desire to build and strengthen the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem that forms a mutually beneficial, self-sustaining environment made up of components, such as academic programs, the Venture Development Center, Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, Entrepreneurship and Marketing Clubs and the Small Business Development Center. This environment will help create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, helping achieve the goals contained in UD's Path to ProminenceTM strategic plan.

In highlighting the important part that students play in the University's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Harker introduced Dan Fox, a junior in the Lerner College of Business and Economics and president of the Entrepreneurship Club.

“The Inventors' Recognition shines light on the growing attention toward entrepreneurship,” Fox said. “The University's programs ... benefit the students in their entrepreneurial futures, and I am happy to be involved and active in these efforts.”

Paul Prestia, cofounder and managing partner of RatnerPrestia, a major intellectual property law firm in Wilmington, noted the unique partnership between the law firm and UD to protect and manage intellectual property.

Prestia said UD “optimizes that process for converting the University's research efforts into real world applications.... I know of no other university that has implemented such a process.”

The Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships through the Intellectual Property Center has developed the University's invention, patent procurement and business development capability.

Bruce Morrissey, director of the Intellectual Property Center, said the office has simplified the invention disclosure process and established an Intellectual Property Business Development Group under Bradley Yops, assistant director of the Intellectual Property Center.

Norman Wagner, Alvin B. and Julia O. Stiles Professor of Chemical Engineering, chairman of Department of Chemical Engineering and an inventor honored for his Shear Thickening Fluid Liquid Armor fabrics, said that OEIP has helped focus efforts on marketing University intellectual property assets.

“The event was useful to bring together the community of UD inventors, as well as to show a new commitment by the administration to support scholarly inventions,” Wagner said. “I look forward to continued growth in UD creativity in service to our society as well as UD entrepreneurship.”

The discussion on an Entrepreneur Ecosystem will continue at the annual President's Forum on Innovation & Entrepreneurship on April 23, 2010. Learn more about the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Business Plan competition at the mybiz@ud Web site.

Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Ambre Alexander


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