Academic Entrepreneurship Course

Academic Entrepreneurship: The Business of Innovation Commercialization

The pursuit of innovation development and commercialization at the University of Pittsburgh requires an entrepreneurial culture that considers viable commercial application of research an important part of the academic endeavor. It requires encouragement and motivation every step of the way. It requires an understanding of how the commercialization process works at Pitt and what resources are available to innovators. And it requires education about business, the realities of entrepreneurship, and a creative process that can build basic research into commercial success.

However, “academic entrepreneurship” isn’t necessarily about giving up the academic life to become CEO of a technology-based start-up company. Rather, it’s about an innovation development process – and willingness – that contemplates market problems and solutions, marketability, collaborative idea sharing, entrepreneurial dynamics, profit-driven economics, and, ultimately, successful technology transfer. This course is designed to address those issues and help attendees launch their own innovation development and commercialization efforts. The main purpose of the course, though, is to engage more faculty, staff and students in the process in the long term. That’s what this course is all about.

The course is hosted and funded in part by the University’s Office of the Provost, in conjunction with the Office of Technology Management (OTM). The OTM serves as the hub of technology commercialization at the University, with a mission of facilitating the development of products and processes from University technology for the benefit of the University, its faculty, staff and students, and society. The course was designed in partnership with the Katz Graduate School of Business and its Center for Executive Education (CEE), which also administers the course.

Registration for the next session will begin in October 2013.  Click HERE for course application.  Deadline is Thursday, October 24, 2013


As part of the partnership with the CEE, the course will be held in the CEE’s classroom facilities on the fifth floor of Alumni Hall, room 531. Alumni Hall is located on Fifth Avenue in Oakland, across the street from the Cathedral of Learning. 

Who Should Attend

This seven-week course is designed for faculty, staff and student innovators – anyone with an interest in transforming his or her University research into innovations with commercial potential. The more general scope of the course allows for – and encourages – a diverse mix of academic disciplines, from the Health Sciences and Physical Sciences to Engineering and the Social Sciences. We find that the academic diversity encourages a non-traditional but productive interaction that leads to new ideas and collaborations down the line.

Our Pitt student component is designed to encourage faculty members whose students are working with them on research projects to learn about commercialization and, thus, assist the faculty innovators in their own commercialization endeavors.

Course Length

Course sessions are held weekly for seven consecutive weeks beginning October 28, 2013. Six of the seven sessions will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a light supper served prior to the start of each class session. We do ask, though, that attendees also commit to one all-day Innovation Workshop – the third class (November 11), when they will receive a hands-on overview of the innovation development process, including creativity, vision, commitment and management of the process.

Just as importantly, that session puts the class into working teams that will identify real innovation development projects and allow the teams to work collectively through different elements of the process throughout the rest of the course. That session also includes an upscale lunch with members of the OTM staff.

One other adjustment for Fall 2013: The sixth class has been rescheduled to Thursday, December 5, at 6 p.m. The course will culminate with group commercialization presentations, a “graduation” ceremony and a reception.

Course Sessions

Click HERE for information on the weekly course sessions.