Barbara Pruitt, 816-932-1288, firstname.lastname@example.org, Kauffman Foundation
Thirteen postdoctoral Fellows will receive support from mentors, internship experience in learning how to take discoveries from lab to market
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Aug. 5, 2009
– The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation announced today that it has selected 13 leading scientific postdoctoral researchers to become the first class of Kauffman Postdoctoral Fellows. The yearlong fellowship program will use entrepreneurship education and mentorship to equip the Fellows to commercialize their scientific discoveries.
"The work being done by each Fellow has enormous potential to benefit society," said Lesa Mitchell, vice president of Advancing Innovation at the Foundation. "By teaching the Fellows how to become scientist-founders, we hope that the Fellowship will serve as a springboard into the market, helping these innovators fulfill their potential."
While many of the 48,000 postdoctoral researchers in the United States are doing cutting-edge scientific research, few understand the basics of the commercialization process. As a result, Mitchell says, "the critical role that scientists play in the economy has been compromised." The Kauffman Postdoctoral Fellowship Program aims to bridge the gap by empowering postdoctoral students to take their own discoveries from the lab to the market.
"Some of the best innovators become 'scientist-founders' who are both successful academics and high-growth entrepreneurs," said Sandy Miller, director of Advancing Innovation at the Foundation. "The Foundation has gathered some of the nation's most successful scientist-founders to mentor the next generation and keep this trend growing throughout the academy."
In addition to providing a salary and benefits to support the Fellows' research over the course of the yearlong fellowship, the Kauffman Foundation has matched each Fellow with an academic advisor to mentor him/her on matters beyond research, and an experienced investor or corporate leader to serve as a business mentor. During the Fellowship year, each Fellow also will undertake an industry internship suited to his or her research interests and objectives.
The 2009-2010 Fellows, along with their university affiliations, are:
- Ankit Agarwal, University of Wisconsin - Madison
- Vijay Chandrasekharan, University of Florida
- David Gruber, Brown University, City University of New York
- Yash Kolambkar, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Riccardo LoCascio, University of California - Davis
- Timothy Marzullo, University of Michigan
- Samuel Mazin, Stanford University
- Franklin Moutos, Duke University
- Christopher Rex, University of California - Irvine
- Carolina Salvador Morales, Harvard University
- Praveen Kumar Vemula, Harvard University
- Yevgen Voronenko, Carnegie Mellon University
- Mehdi Yazdanpanah, University of Louisville
Timothy Marzullo, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, is participating in the Fellowship through the support of the New Economy Initiative, a consortium of 10 Michigan foundations who have joined to revitalize the state's economy. "We are proud to continue our partnership with the Kauffman Foundation by supporting a postdoctoral fellow," said David Egner, executive director of NEI. "Innovators such as Dr. Marzullo will take the lead in retooling Michigan's economy to produce leading-edge technologies."
The remaining twelve Fellows will be funded by the Kauffman Foundation.
The fellows were selected from a pool of 115 applicants by a blue-ribbon Advisory Panel, made up of successful scientist-founders and Kauffman Foundation fellows with expertise in the realms of innovation and entrepreneurship. Members include John Adler of Stanford University, Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University, Frank L. Douglas of PureTech Ventures, Eugene Fitzgerald of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Louise Perkins of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Jay Watkins of De Novo Ventures, and Monica Doss, Bo Fishback, Sandy Miller, Lesa Mitchell and Thom Ruhe of the Kauffman Foundation.
The Fellowship will kick off with a workshop October 7-10 at the Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., where the Fellows will hear from members of the Advisory Panel and other entrepreneurship experts.