Technology Innovation Forum IV

Monday, November 26
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Sheraton Boston Hotel, 2nd Floor, Back Bay B

Technology Innovation Forum—Experiences and Perspectives on Bringing Materials Technologies to Market.

This frank and candid forum offered perspectives from successful innovators, industry leaders and investors on the process of taking a technology from conception to market impact. Speaker presentations and panel sessions were structured to provide a varied set of practical, experience-based perspectives on critical questions and issues facing innovation-driven materials researchers.

After each session, representatives from participating organizations were available for pre-scheduled meetings to discuss specific technologies of interest or partnering opportunities that may develop.


  • Ilan Gur, Chair, U.S. Department of Energy, ARPA-E
  • Niccolo V. Aieta, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • John Benner, Bay Area PV Consortium
  • Alan Brown, IC Strategies
  • John Busbee, Xerion Advanced Battery Corp.
  • Meiken Falke, Bruker Nano GmbH
  • Jeff Glass, Duke University
  • David Parrillo, The Dow Chemical Company

Academia, Startup or Both?—Perspectives on Finding the Right Balance

Members of the academic community play pivotal roles in the startup innovation ecosystem—as inventors, founders, advisors and CEOs. But deciding if, when and how to get involved in a startup can be tricky. This session explored the various ways in which professors, post-docs and students can be involved in startup innovation, and how to strike a balance that’s right for you. Speakers reflected on personal experiences to discuss the pros and cons of different approaches and provided their top five suggestions on how to best spend your time and energy in getting involved with a startup.

Large-Area Nanotechnologies—Transforming Inventions into Jobs

Vladimir Bulovic

Vladimir Bulovic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

8:30 am
Vladimir Bulovic
Professor of Electrical Engineering, MacVicar Fellow,
Director of the Microsystems Technology Laboratories
Massachusetts Institute of Technology



After twenty years of nanotechnology innovations, we are entering the age of practical applications of nanomaterials in everyday electronics. Companies such as Universal Display, QD Vision, Kateeva and Ubiquitous Energy are examples of present successes and future promises of new nanotechnologies, charting the path of my own experience in linking academic inventions to technology launches.

Vladamir Bulovic Biography

Vladimir Bulovic is the professor of electrical engineering at MIT, leading the Organic and Nanostructured Electronics laboratory, directing the Microsystems Technology Laboratories and co-directing the MIT-ENI Solar Frontiers Center. Bulovic’s research interests include studies of physical properties of organic and organic/inorganic nanocrystal composite thin films and structures, and development of novel nanostructured optoelectronic devices. He is an author of over 140 research articles (cited over 8,000 times) and an inventor of over 50 U.S. patents in areas of light emitting diodes, lasers, photovoltaics, photodetectors, chemical sensors, programmable memories, and microelectromachines, the majority of which have been licensed and utilized by both start-up and multinational companies. He is a founder of QD Vision Inc. of Watertown, MA, which is producing quantum dot optoelectronic components, of Kateeva Inc. of Menlo Park, CA, which is focused on development of printed organic electronics, and Ubiquitous Energy Inc., which is developing nanostructured solar technologies.

Determining How, Where and When to Develop Your Own Ideas—A Perspective from a PhD Graduate Turned Entrepreneur

Craig Peters

Craig Peters, PLANT PV

8:50 am
Craig Peters

Co-Founder & CEO


Every major materials innovation begins as an early stage research project, but determining how, where, and when to develop your own ideas can be challenging. This presentation included Peters' perspective after forming a materials-based energy start-up and offered helpful tips for researchers looking to purse their ideas in different environments.

Craig Peters Biography

Craig co-founded PLANT PV after receiving his PhD from the materials science & engineering department at Stanford University in 2011. Prior to pursuing a PhD, he helped start a VC funded company in the financial services industry in NYC, which was sold in 2004. It was during his time in NYC that Craig recognized his passion for the sciences and began his second undergraduate degree in physics at both Columbia University and UC Berkeley, which led to his desire to pursue graduate research in solar technologies at Stanford.

Innovation to Commercialization Out of Academia

Ginger Rothrock

Ginger Rothrock, RTI International

9:10 am
Ginger Rothrock

Program Manager, Emerging Technologies
Center for Aerosol and Nanotechnology Engineering
RTI International



Commercialization and scale-up of advanced technologies out of academia has been both a challenge and an opportunity. This presentation utilized personal examples from multiple university startups to discuss the rewards of gaining startup experience and the risks encountered from a technical, financial and personal perspective.

Ginger Rothrock Biography

Dr. Ginger Rothrock is the program manager for emerging technologies at RTI, where she is responsible for business and technical development for new strategic areas in RTI’s nanotechnology portfolio. Dr. Rothrock also consults with government, venture capital and private industry identifying potential risks and value of nano-enabled products through market research, intellectual property assessment and technology evaluation. Prior to RTI, Dr. Rothrock was co-founder and principal technologist of Liquidia Technologies—a dynamic mid-stage nanobiotech firm. She and her colleagues at the University of North Carolina formed Liquidia in 2005, from nanotechnology research stemming from UNC’s Department of Chemistry. Dr. Rothrock has a PhD in chemistry, has authored over 30 peer-reviewed articles and patent applications, more than 60 presentation abstracts, and about 40 study reports. Dr. Rothrock is an active member of the entrepreneur community and held various offices and board seats within a number of professional scientific associations, including Women in Bio and the Association of Women in Science.

Innovation from Academia to Industry

Shenda Baker

Shenda Baker, Synedgen Inc.

9:30 am
Shenda M. Baker

President & COO
Synedgen Inc.



This talk described the challenges in transitioning from academic to industry research, based on my personal experience in moving from Harvey Mudd College to Synedgen, a bio-pharmaceutical company developing new approaches to immune imbalance and infection. Key points included the role of research in development, funding and how to maintain innovation.

Shenda Baker Biography

Dr. Baker has more than 25 years experience in polymer chemistry, and in leading, funding and directing chemistry, materials science, and biochemistry research, as well as twenty years academic teaching experience, currently as professor of chemistry at Harvey Mudd College. She provides scientific leadership, manages the intellectual property and scientific and regulatory collaborations, and provides financial and organizational oversight at Synedgen. In addition to serving on the board of directors of the Materials Research Society, Dr. Baker is a member of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for CyberInfrastructure. She was both a CAREER (NSF) and PECASE (DOE) awardee. She has served on the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Computer & Informational Science & Engineering, the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Math and Physical Sciences, the Advisory Board for Chemical & Engineering News of the American Chemical Society, as well as the Department of Energy (Basic Energy Sciences) Advisory Committee for the Neutron Spallation Source.

Creating a Leading Entrepreneur

David Berry

David Berry, Flagship Ventures

9:50 am
David Berry

Flagship Ventures



Entrepreneuring is often viewed with a sense of mysticism—what creates a leading entrepreneur, how to form a great company, what IP is necessary. VentureLabs has developed a robust and repeatable system for innovating, founding, launching and building entrepreneurial companies. This talk covered key insights learned through our experiences.

David Berry Biography

David Berry is a partner at Flagship Ventures. At Flagship, David focuses on investing in and founding early stage life science and sustainability ventures. As part of Flagship's VentureLabs unit, he has been a founder of seven companies including LS9, Joule Unlimited, Pronutria, Seres Health, and Eleven Biotherapeutics. He was previously a board member of Flagship portfolio company CGI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Gilead in 2010), and currently serves of the board of directors of Eleven Biotherapeutics, Joule Unlimited, Pronutria, and Seres Health. He has produced 14 papers, over 50 patents, and over 35 awards and honors including the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize in 2005 for invention and innovation and was named the Innovator of the Year under the age of 35 by Technology Review in 2007. David previously received an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD through the MIT Biological Engineering Division where he studied with Professor Ram Sasisekharan and Professor Robert Langer.

Perspectives on Finding the Right Balance

10:10 am
Panel Discussion and Q&A
Meiken Falke

Bruker Nano GmbH
Session Chair and Panel Moderator

Working with Corporations to Bring Innovation to Market

Startups often hog the spotlight, but the role of corporations in bringing modern materials technology to market cannot be underestimated. Given long development times and high capital needs, it is rare that a materials invention becomes a product without the involvement of a large corporation somewhere along the way, whether as a licensor, technology partner, channel to the market, early customer or investor. This session provided practical perspectives on how to best engage with corporations to advance your technology, and why a keen understanding of the corporate landscape can mean the difference between success and failure.

Collaborate to Accelerate—The Power of Innovation Sourcing at Dow

Theresa Kotanchek

Theresa Kotanchek, The Dow Chemical Company

10:30 am
Theresa Kotanchek
Vice President, Sustainable Technologies and Innovation Sourcing
The Dow Chemical Company



By reaching beyond our doors and partnering with the world’s best minds, we extend our capability to become first movers into promising new markets. This presentation highlighted how we utilize the power of collaborative networks to discover, design, develop and deploy breakthrough materials and how you can partner with us.

Theresa Kotanchek Biography

Theresa Kotanchek is the vice president for Sustainable Technologies and Innovation Sourcing at Dow Chemical. In this role, Theresa leads the strategic integration of sustainability into Dow’s business innovation portfolio, including establishment of corporate wide metrics and delivery of three breakthroughs to world challenges. In addition, she also leads innovation sourcing, serving as Dow's global leader for external technology, with the responsibility to coordinate Dow’s corporate wide interactions with external bodies, including universities, national laboratories, government agencies and development partners, to accelerate commercial delivery of Dow’s innovation pipeline. Prior to assuming her current role, Theresa was the chief technology officer of Dow Chemical China where she led Dow’s Asia Pacific R&D organization, including the establishment of Dow’s state-of-the-art global research center in Shanghai, China. She holds BS, MS and PhD degrees in materials science from The Pennsylvania State University.

Partnering with Lockheed Martin for Technology Innovation

Hilary Lackritz

Hilary Lackritz, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

10:50 am
Hilary S. Lackritz

Senior Manager, Business Development, Advanced Technology Center
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company



This talk focused on how we create partnerships between Lockheed Martin Space Systems and universities and small businesses to bring novel technologies into the aerospace community, as well as what you need to know to reach into a large company and find the right resources to reach your goals.

Hilary Lackritz Biography

Hilary Lackritz is currently the senior manager for Business Development at the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) within the Space Systems Company (SSC). Her key responsibilities are to represent customer interests and perspectives to the ATC and be a customer advocate, manage ATC new business acquisition (NBAE) resources and foster appropriate leverage of external and internal investments to ensure alignment of ATC NBAE investments to SSC lines of business needs. Before coming to Lockheed Martin, Hilary founded/co-founded three small businesses, Lackritz Consulting (1988-2005), Hide and Seek Technologies, and Lightwave BioApplications (2001-2005). She also worked at startup companies including Gemfire Corporation and ACLARA BioSciences. Previous to that, Hilary was a professor at Purdue University in the School of Chemical Engineering. Her areas of research included optical materials, polymer physics and processing, and nanomaterials. She was awarded the prestigious Presidential Faculty Fellow Award (1993) and was an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator (1992). Hilary is an internationally noted authority with 10 patents awarded (multiple pending) and over 150 publications. Hilary has a BS degree in chemical engineering (1985) and PhD in materials science and engineering (1990) from Northwestern University.

Navigating the Corporate Sea—Paths to Commercialization with BASF

11:10 am
Steven Hicks

Manager, Lithium Sulfur Battery Systems
BASF Corporation

It can be difficult for small entrepreneurial companies to interact effectively with large corporations. BASF has 3 levels that evaluate and invest in new technologies from outside sources: BASF Venture Capital, BASF Future Business, and individual business groups. The relationship of BASF with Sion Power is an example of navigating this corporate sea.

Steven Hicks Biography

Steven Hicks is the manager of Lithium Sulfur Battery Systems for BASF. His current responsibilities include: management of the internal research project for lithium sulfur batteries, market development for lithium sulfur batteries, and management of the relationship between BASF and Sion Power. Sion Power is a leading developer of this high energy rechargeable battery technology. Steve has a BS degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He joined BASF Corporation in 1985 and has held various roles within the company.

KU Leuven Research & Development—A Long Tradition of Technology Transfer

Andre Oosterlinck

André Oosterlinck, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

11:30 am
André Oosterlinck

Chairman of the Board, Easics
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD) was established in 1972 as one of the first technology transfer offices in Europe. LRD has developed a tradition of collaborating with industry, securing and licensing intellectual property rights, and creating spin-off companies. LRD is dedicated to building bridges between science and industry.

André Oosterlinck Biography

Prof. Dr. Ir. André Oosterlinck is Honorary Rector of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and chairman of the Association K.U.Leuven. In 1984 he was appointed full professor at K.U.Leuven and from 1984 to 1994 he was director of the division Electronics Systems Automatization and Technology (ESAT). He became vice-president for the exact sciences at K.U.Leuven in 1990 and was rector and president of the K.U.Leuven from August 1995 until July 2005. He has also been visiting professor at Utah University (1984) and ARC-IBM, San Jose, USA (1986-1996). Mr. Oosterlinck is a founder, co-founder or director of numerous companies and institutes, including Icos Vision Systems (now KLA-Tencor, USA), IMEC (Belgium), Leuven Research & Development (Belgium). He graduated as an electronics engineer at the K.U.Leuven in 1972 and obtained a PhD bio-computer science (1977) and a special PhD electrical engineering (1981). He specialized at JPL-NASA (Pasadena, USA) and at several American universities where he supported research in the area of information technology, knowledge engineering, signal analysis, robot vision and biomedical image interpretation.

Working with the Source: Moving Technology from University to Industry

Lita Nelson

Lita Nelsen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

11:50 am
Lita Nelsen

Director, Technology Licensing Office
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


University research leads to new technology—but at a very early stage of development.  Further development by the industrial sector is often a high risk investment, requiring intellectual property protection via exclusive licenses from the university. Each year, MIT’s TLO receives over 700 invention disclosures, almost 200 new US patents, grants over 75 licenses and starts up about 20 new companies.

Lita Nelsen Biography

Lita Nelsen is the director of the Technology Licensing Office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she has been since 1986. This office manages over 600 new inventions per year from M.I.T. and Lincoln Laboratory. Typically, they negotiate over 100 licenses, and start up over 25 new companies per year. Ms. Nelsen earned BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering from M.I.T. and an MS in management from M.I.T. as a Sloan Fellow. Prior to joining the M.I.T. Technology Licensing Office, she spent 20 years in industry, primarily in the fields of membrane separations, medical devices, and biotechnology. Ms. Nelsen was the 1992 president of the Association of University Technology Managers and served on the board the Mount Auburn Hospital, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Foundation. She was a founding board member of MIHR, an organization concerned with the use of IP in research. She is also a board member of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation and a member of the advisory board of the Center for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. Ms. Nelsen is widely published in the field of technology transfer and university/industry collaborations and was a CMI Fellow at the University of Cambridge. She is a co-founder of Praxis, the UK University Technology Transfer Training Programme for which she was made a member of the British Empire.

Innovation to Market

12:10 pm
Panel Discussion and Q&A
Jeff Glass

Duke University
Session Chair and Panel Moderator

For more information on innovation, commercialization and new product development using advances in materials, visit MRS Innovation Source.


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