Institutional Collaborations for Innovation and Commercialization (IC2)
The CREWS IC2 program promotes sustainability of the CREWS project through commercialization and entrepreneurship activities related to CREWS research. Led by Jakki Mohr, regents professor in the College of Business at the University of Montana, IC2 provides training for all CREWS participants, internships for students and postdocs, and support for all stages of the commercialization process. IC2 partners with UM's NSF I-Corps Site and the tech-transfer offices at all participating institutions.
IC2 launched its Innovation & Commercialization Internship Program in Spring of 2020, providing two graduate students and one postdoc an opportunity to explore the commercial potential of their research or innovation idea. To explore commercial potential, interns can participate in a workshop (through the Montana NSF Regional I-Corps program) to learn about customer/market discovery, build a template for a commercialization plan, engage with industry, agency, or non-profit partners, and/or complete other tasks appropriate to the specific innovation idea.
Meet the CREWS 2021 Commercialization Interns:
Sheridan Johnson is an undergraduate student at Montana State University studying Agricultural Education and Political Science. As a CREWS Innovation and Commercialization intern, Sheridan focused on how to improve STEM education in rural communities through a project called Small Town STEM. Sheridan sums up her internship experience by saying “Overall, I loved the environment and flexibility of the I-Corps program. I think it was a little different coming at it from more of a social science angle rather than [some of the other] sciences in the [Montana NSF EPSCoR] programs, but it was a great experience! I was able to learn a lot about a topic I am passionate about as well as the greater NSF program, all with the help of my awesome boss Suzi [Taylor].”
Riley Logan is a Ph.D. student at Montana State University in the Shaw Lab. His CREWS research focuses on drone-based remote sensing of rivers and streams. During his CREWS Innovation and Commercialization internship, Riley looked at how hyperspectral imagers from Resonon respond to different polarization states of light.
Megan Moore is a Ph.D. student at the University of Montana in Libby Metcalf’s Human Dimensions Lab. Her CREWS research focuses on the relationship between water and soil quality and how communities along the Upper Clark Fork River respond to degradation of these resources. Through her internship, Megan is developing a report for the town of Anaconda, MT, based on community member interviews she conducted during Summer 2020. Megan hopes that her final product will help people learn more about their community and can be informative moving into the future. “As researchers, we often use much of a community’s time and [I] hope to give something small back,” says Megan.
Alyson Welch is an undergraduate student at Montana State University studying Biological Engineering. For her CREWS Innovation and Commercialization internship, Alyson worked with Drs. Robin Gerlach and Wyatt Cross to address the inefficiency of an ecological studies method called invertebrate separation. Alyson used digital imaging to take pictures of bugs in samples, with the hope that by identifying invertebrates from images rather than handpicking, she can help make this method of study more time-efficient while remaining cost-effective.
Meet the CREWS 2020 Commercialization Interns:
David Hutchins is a postdoc at Montana Technological University, working in Jerry Downey’s Lab on the Continuous Flow Metal Recovery System (CFMR) as part of the CREWS project. CFMR technology uses magnetic nanoparticles which are an emerging technology with a wide range of applications, including biomedical applications such as anti-cancer drug synthesis. Through his internship, David is exploring feasibility for this biomedical application through literature and patent review, as well as consultations. "This internship has been a great opportunity to explore new possibilities for our technology,” says David. “We tend to get so focused in our areas of expertise that we risk missing alternative applications with serious potential."
Taylor Gold Quiros is a PhD student at the University of Montana in the Valett Lab. Her CREWS research on the Upper Clark Fork River investigates the impact of long-term stressors, such as mining, on the structure and function of aquatic communities—in this case, fish. As an intern, Taylor is looking at the commercial potential of her idea to develop an app that would provide a data sharing platform for anglers, academics, and agencies. “My goal is to create an exchange of information; the app would create an opportunity for scientists to share data directly with people who may use it and have a citizen scientist component where the public can help scientists track demographics of the fish (and fishermen) on the river,” says Taylor. Taylor is working with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks on this idea and has participated in UM’s I-Corps program to research its feasibility.
Qipei Shangguan is a PhD student at the University of Montana, working on sensor development for the CREWS project in Mike DeGrandpre’s lab. He is developing a prototype alkalinity sensor for in situ freshwater monitoring. Through his internship, Qipei is working with Sunburst Sensors to perform experimental tests and assess market interest for this new technology. “It is great to work with industry and exchange ideas. I hope the alkalinity sensor will help freshwater researchers to observe fine scale natural phenomena,” says Qipei.