Innovation at Rensselaer typically begins with the conceptualization of an Invention stemming from research generated during the Discovery/Imagination phase. Two main organizations within Rensselaer that support Discovery and Invention are the Office of the Vice Provost of Entrepreneurship (VP of E*Ship) and the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC). The VP of E*Ship promotes innovation & entrepreneurship across the Institute’s engineering & science curricula, stimulating Imagination and Discovery. OTC assists students, faculty and researchers with securing the Intellectual Property of new inventions and provides guidance through the patenting process and development of IP strategy.
Once a student, faculty or researcher has identified an idea or prototyped an invention with perceived commercial value, their next stop along the innovation & entrepreneurship continuum at Rensselaer is the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship (SCTE). At the SCTE the viability and validity of a particular technology business idea is vetted, and the entrepreneur is assigned or referred to an appropriate program, mentor, investor group or external entrepreneurial ecosystem partner for business development assistance. The SCTE primarily provides programs and support for venture feasibility, business strategy and proper entity creation.
After a technology-based new venture idea has been vetted and transformed into a business plan/model, it is ready to enter the Demonstration & Launch Phase. The two organizations within the Rensselaer innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystem that provide business development and support are the Business Incubation Program (BIP) and the Rensselaer Technology Park (Tech Park). Taken together, both organizations represent the two bookends of technology-driven economic development, such that the incubation program nurtures startups during risky early stages of growth, and the Tech Park provides more mature businesses with physical facilities and ongoing access to Institute research, facilities and manpower.
Rensselaer has a rich and sophisticated ecosystem for supporting the transformation of applied research and discoveries into inventions, and then into viable business ventures. As the home of one of the oldest incubation programs in the country, Rensselaer draws from a deep reservoir of experience which includes some painful but productive lessons-learned regarding the challenges of transferring ideas and inventions from the lab into the commercial marketplace. The innovation & entrepreneurship environment and continuum of resources at Rensselaer is a strategically organized collection of university resources and programs dedicated to: 1) promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for students, faculty and researchers, 2) providing formal innovation & entrepreneurship learning opportunities across and within disciplines, and 3) developing & vetting ideas as commercial ventures and 4) incubating business ventures resulting from Institute research in the form of practical discoveries and inventions. The E&I Council is a coordinating body that assures smooth collaboration and communication between the different stages of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Pipeline.