PhD Students Can Learn about Research Commercialization through TI:GER

Many Georgia Tech PhD students have found that the TI:GER® (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results) Program helped broaden their career horizons by developing a deeper understanding of what it takes to commercialize research and technology.
The TI:GER program, which brings together PhD, MBA, and law students in the classroom and research lab to advance early-stage research into real business opportunities, will hold an Information Session for PhD students from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23 in Room 312 of the College of Management (pizza lunch included).

A collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory Law School, TI:GER plans to admit from five to eight PhD students to enter the two-year program starting in fall 2010. PhD students from all of the science and engineering disciplines at Georgia Tech are eligible to apply for TI:GER.

PhD applicants should have completed qualifying exams and identified or begun research in a primary field of interest. They should be in their second or third year of their PhD program and have an interest in technology commercialization and entrepreneurship.

Students who win acceptance into the highly competitive TI:GER program are assembled into five-member teams, including two MBAs and two law students, who focus on the commercialization of the PhD student’s research over a two-year period.

"This program will help PhD students develop the skills necessary for success whether they plan to remain in a university environment as a researcher or move into an industry setting" says TI:GER Executive Director Marie Thursby, a strategic management professor who founded the program in 2002.

Jeff Gross, PhD BME 07, found that his TI:GER experience opened doors to competitive career opportunities. He credits the program with helping him land a job as a senior management consultant with Easton Associates, a leading global healthcare consulting firm.

“Easton liked the fact that I had not only a PhD in science, but also experience with market assessment as well as communicating with CEOs and others on the business side,” says Gross, whose job focuses on strategy and mergers and acquisitions. “TI:GER helped me understand the importance of market research, due diligence, and industry analysis before taking technologies to market.”

TI:GER has helped foster the development of promising companies, such as Syzygy, a developer of shape-memory plastics that recently won a $100,000 small business innovation grant (SBIR) from the National Science Foundation, among other honors.

Syzygy's Chief Technology Officer Walter Voit, who earned his PhD in materials science and engineering at Georgia Tech in 2009, says, "The TI:GER program gives PhD students the opportunity to see how their technology will impact people. Understanding the stages required for commercialization helps give the research focus and purpose."

TI:GER has won international acclaim for setting a new standard in interdisciplinary, collaborative entrepreneurship education. Winner of an Innovation in Pedagogy Award from the Academy of Management, the program recently won an award from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers for its multidisciplinary approach to educating future leaders in technology commercialization.

To attend the February 23 Information Session, RSVP to Jennifer.smith@mgt.gatech.edu by February 22. For more information on the program, visit http://tiger.gatech.edu or contact the Program Director, Margi Berbari at margi.berbari@mgt.gatech.edu.

TI:GER Student
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TI:GER alumnus Matt Rhyner, who earned his biomedical engineering (PhD 2007), works in the lab on nanotechnology that can detect cancer in its earliest stages. He’s now a Particle Characterization Consultant at Beckman Coulter.

- Contributed by Brad Dixon