Vanderbilt's new dean of school of engineering wants to turn research into inventions

Associated Press • Mar 3, 2013 at 6:13 AM

NASHVILLE -- Vanderbilt's new dean of the school of engineering is excited to take the ideas generated by faculty research and turn them into products people can use.

Philippe Fauchet told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/Y7mbQj) that of the engineering school's 85 professors, only five are involved in startup companies. That's a much lower percentage than at schools like Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"We want to take things out of the lab," Fauchet said.

To help make entrepreneurship a more prominent part of the university's ethos, Vanderbilt has preliminary plans to build an interdisciplinary research building for the engineering and medical schools. It also would contain an innovation center that could serve as a business incubator.

Also, faculty is creating more courses that connect students with local companies. And students have created new entrepreneurship and technology-related clubs and competitions.

Some of the efforts have been under way for years, but many are just getting started, including an entrepreneurship task force Fauchet formed in the fall.

Germain Boer is director of the school's Owen Entrepreneurship Center and a member of the task force. He said there is more activity surrounding entrepreneurship now than at any point in his 36 years at Vanderbilt. But he said there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"If we could do one-tenth of what Stanford does," he said, "that would be awesome."


Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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