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 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.