Supporting Undergraduate Institutions in Technology and Entrepreneurship Development (SUITED) Workshop

SUITED Workshop

Moving research from lab to marketplace.

Technology Innovation and Partnership (TIP) activities can support your core academic research, education, and broader societal missions.

  • Learn, from those who have done it, how to overcome institutional challenges to participating in and obtaining support for TIP activities.
  • Share your successes, receive feedback on plans, and build a like-minded community of interest around supporting TIP at undergraduate institutions.
  • Provide feedback to NSF to help shape their policies and programs to better address the particular needs of and barriers faced by Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) in participating in and obtaining support for TIP activities.

Register before Monday, December 12. Registration is free.

  • SUITED Workshop Part 1: Tentative Schedule on January 12-13, 2023

    Thursday Jan 12

    12:00-12:15 pm

    Welcome from NSF, Union Administration, Conference Chairs

    12:15-1:00 pm A round-table discussion: "Perspectives on the Role of Undergraduate Institutions in Advancing Technology and Innovation"

    1:00-1:45 pm

    Presentations by invited representatives from various funding agencies to give an overview of programs

    1:45 - 2:00 pm Virtual Break

    2:00-3:00 pm

    Stories from faculty at PUIs who have worked on commercializing technology that grew out of their research (Union, Olin, CUNY)

    • Panel of faculty members and current/former students who have participated in technology development and commercialization activities
    • PIs, Entrepreneurial Leads and Industry Mentors who have participated in I-Corps programs as part of a PUI team

    3:00-3:15 pm

    Virtual Break

    3:15-5:00 pm

    Breakout Session 1: Barriers What are the primary barriers to technology development and commercialization activity at PUIs? Participants will be split into smaller groups for this activity with an identified moderator and note-taker for each group. Discussion points will include:

    • Administrative support: What is needed?
    • Reward systems (tenure/promotion/merit) – How would commercialization activities be evaluated and rewarded?
    • Technology commercialization at undergraduate colleges - Is this something your institutional culture would accept?

    Recap (with all participants)

    Friday Jan 13

    12:00 – 1:00 pm

    Presentation: Infrastructure for Technology Development & Commercialization (an overview of intellectual property, incubators, accelerators, technology transfer offices).

    1:00 - 2:45 pm

    Breakout Session 2: Infrastructure - what do we need, what do we have, what are the best practices? Participants will be split into smaller groups for this activity with an identified moderator and note-taker for each group. Discussion points will include:

    • Intellectual property – What are best practices for protecting intellectual property, how does one apply for and fund a patent?
    • Tech transfer offices, tech transfer mentors – What do we do when a proposal requires a business mentor or commercialization expert and our institution does not have a tech transfer office?
    • Access to accelerators/incubators/funding – Many major universities have these – how can undergraduate institutions benefit?
    • Funding organization cost structures - Do they actively encourage PUI participation? (allowing course release, using wording on RFP that mentions post-baccalaureate researchers and technicians as well as graduate students, etc.)

    Recap (with all participants)

    2:45-3:00 pm

    Virtual Break

    3:00-5:00 pm

    Breakout Session 3: Moving Forward – What do we do next? Participants will be split into smaller groups for this activity with an identified moderator and note taker for each group. Discussion points will include:

    • How can PUIs work together? Can PUIs share resources? What sort of resources? (Shared tech transfer office? Shared IP attorney? Incubators?)
    • Educational benefits of including technology development and commercialization activities at a PUI – Why is this good for the students? How do we set up structures to introduce undergraduate students in meaningful ways?
    • Expanding the impact of this workshop to faculty and administrators at other PUIs – How can NSF, other funding agencies, and institutional administrations encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship activity?

    Recap (with all participants)

The SUITED Workshop series will help Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) learn to better access the myriad benefits of Technology, Innovation and Partnership (TIP) activities* and help the National Science Foundation (and other key agencies and organizations) to better support and harness the power of PUIs. The approach is collaborative, bringing together science and engineering faculty, administrators, and others from PUIs with administrators from government funding agencies, nonprofits, and high-level TIP practitioners to develop pathways to increased PUI participation.

The organizers have experienced first-hand how TIP activities support and enhance a PUI college's core research, teaching, and broader societal missions, but also encountered significant barriers and challenges specific to PUIs associated with participating in and gaining support for TIP activities.

Please consider joining us at SUITED to share lessons learned, get questions asked and answered, identify core challenges, and build a community of interest around furthering TIP at PUIs.

The SUITED workshop will occur in three parts. Part 1 of the SUITED workshop, for which registration is open from now until December 12, 2022, will be held virtually on January 12-13, 2023, and is open to all (but space is limited). The primary objective of Part 1 is to bring together and begin to build community among faculty and administrators and others at PUIs interested in furthering TIP activities in undergraduate settings.

Who Should Attend Part 1: Individuals or teams of science and engineering faculty, academic deans, grants and tech transfer office administrators, and other research leaders at PUIs interested in learning more about how new TIP activities can support their institution's core missions.

Part 2 and 3 will invite teams from PUIs wishing to pursue these issues further to more intensive, in person, events (tentatively scheduled for mid- and late-2023) that will give teams the opportunity to develop and test plans to pursue TIP activities at their institutions, apply for funding and build programs that will directly and meaningfully impact undergraduate students. Participation for Part 2 and 3 will be limited to 15 teams consisting of at least one faculty member and one administrator from each PUI selected. Participants in Part 1 will have significant impact in scoping parts 2 and 3.

*TIP activities include: Technology, Development and Technology Transfer, Entrepreneurship, Commercialization, and Innovation.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Emily Tong at tonge@union.edu or (518) 388-6233.

The SUITED Workshop organizing committee:

  • Ann M. Anderson, Agnes S. MacDonald Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Union College, Committee Chair
  • John Blaho, Director, Industrial-Academic Research, CUNY Central - Division of Innovation and Applied Research
  • Bradford A. Bruno, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Union College
  • Mary K. Carroll, Dwane W. Crichton Professor of Chemistry, Union College
  • Diana Dabby, Professor Electrical Engineering and Music, Olin College
  • Jeff Goronkin, Technology Commercialization Expert and CEO, Urban Co-Works
  • Mercedes Susi, Senior Associate Director of Sponsored Programs & Faculty Fellowships, Union College

Support for the SUITED Workshop was provided by the National Science Foundation (Award #2225762). The opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the organizing committee/author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.