Wednesday, March 28, 2007

USC Stevens Institute for Innovation Launches; Showcases Breakthrough Innovations
Posted on : 2007-03-28 | Author : University of Southern California
News Category : PressRelease

LOS ANGELES, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- During a day long celebration of innovation at the University of Southern California today, USC President Steven B. Sample announced the strategic plan, mission and vision for the newly-named USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, the university's bold, new approach to harness and advance breakthrough research and innovation for societal impact.This is the first time a major research university has created a university-wide, centralized hub out of the Office of the Provost to consolidate innovation transfer operations and innovator development and to be the catalyst for educational and co-curricular programming. Additionally, this is the first time such an undertaking has included innovations from all disciplines -- from cinematic arts and music to sciences, medicine and engineering -- focusing efforts on innovators as well as the innovations."Innovation isn't confined to science and technology. It can also be social or artistic, with creative ideas taking the form of start-ups or licenses, new products or services, or even nonprofits and new organizational models," Dr. Sample said. "It is this broader -- more inclusive -- definition for innovation that makes it relevant and powerful within a research university. At USC we are dedicated to breaking down the barriers between disciplines and pursuing innovation that meets societal needs in areas that include education, human health and safety, the arts, the environment, and urban policy and planning."To celebrate the USC Stevens launch, innovators from a variety of disciplines, research centers and USC schools including the School of Pharmacy, Institute for Creative Technologies, Information Sciences Institute, Roski School of Fine Arts, School of Cinematic Arts, and School of Social Work demonstrated their inventions at the showcase. Some of the innovations displayed included: * Wei-Min Shen's Superbots -- Identical modular units that can connect to create robots that can stand, walk or crawl; * Leapfrog lunar landing vehicle -- A working space vehicle that provides small companies the option to explore revenue generating business opportunities on the lunar surface; * A breakthrough Alzheimer's disease therapy that uses a new way to promote neural stem cell generation in the brain to sustain the regenerative capacity and cognitive function of the brain; * The Pano Chamber -- A 9-foot in diameter, immersive, 360 degree video, motion graphic and still display interactive video and audio panoramic display environmentSaid USC Trustee Mark Stevens, Sequoia Capital partner and the naming donor of the Institute, "A chasm exists between academia and business. Although both rely on innovation, the academic world pursues publication, societal impact, and betterment of humanity while the business community generally pursues a return on investment, financial gain and competitive edge. With USC Stevens designed to bridge the gap between the academy and society in such a unique manner, USC has demonstrated its pioneering spirit in redefining what it means to be a major research university in the 21st century."A Unique ApproachThe primary focus of USC Stevens is on developing, supporting and nurturing both the innovator and the innovation. To that end, USC Stevens plans to soon announce specific awards, grants and educational programs to support student innovators."The greatest innovation transfer we can do as a university to make an impact on society occurs every May, when we graduate thousands of future innovators from USC," said Krisztina Holly, Vice Provost and Executive Director of USC Stevens. "Our approach centers on ensuring our researchers and student innovators are empowered with the tools and support necessary to continue to make societal impact, now and in the future."To expand on our effectiveness, USC Stevens will build cross-functional teams within the staff and volunteer network, in thematic areas of interest, to design specific programmatic support within each area based on unique needs. The first team will be in Arts and Media, followed closely by Life Sciences, which will launch in conjunction with the opening of the USC Stevens office on the HSC campus.USC Stevens will soon open an office on the USC Health Sciences Campus to serve the specific needs of the health science researchers, particularly at the Keck School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy.USC Stevens will grow to nearly 30 staff, and will begin to offer a variety of programs to USC researchers and students, including workshops, educational programs, student groups, and resources in innovation; intellectual property management; IP protection and licensing for USC-owned IP; information on volunteer, investment, and sponsored research opportunities at USC; and community-building events to connect innovators and investors. Programs will be built over the next several years in response to needs identified in various thematic areas.About USC Stevens Institute for InnovationUSC Stevens Institute for Innovation is a university-wide resource in the Office of the Provost, designed to harness and advance the creative thinking and breakthrough research at USC for societal impact. USC Stevens identifies, nurtures, protects, and transfers the most exciting innovations from USC to the market, and in turn, provides a central connection for industry seeking cutting-edge innovations in which to invest. Furthermore, USC Stevens develops the innovator as well as innovations, through educational programs, community-building events, and showcase opportunities. From the biosciences and technology to music and cinematic arts, USC Stevens connects faculty, students, and the business community to create an environment for stimulating and inspiring the process of innovation across all disciplines.

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