University of North Carolina Student Teams Selected to Compete in Neuro Startup Challenge

Chapel Hill, N.C. (PRWEB) January 13, 2015

Four teams of PhD students at the University of North Carolina have been selected to compete in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Neuro Startup Challenge.

In the global challenge, teams of students and entrepreneurs compete to commercialize 16 NIH-conceived inventions involving therapeutics, diagnostics, prognostics and medical devices for a range of brain diseases. It was developed by the Heritage Provider Network (HPN) with the NIH and Center for Advancing Innovation.

The UNC teams were formed as part of the course “Introduction to Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship,” a prerequisite for the Graduate Certificate in Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship at UNC. Students developed a technology evaluation for a neuroscience-related technology selected by the Neuro Startup Challenge.

They are competing with more than 500 participants from around the globe in the three-phase challenge.

The next phase requires teams to develop elevator speeches, executive summaries outlining potential commercial products and company visions. The products are posted online for public votes at

“In this challenge, students will gain real-world exposure to inventions with promising commercial potential and think about how to move those inventions into the marketplace,” said Don Rose, adjunct professor at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and director of Carolina KickStart. “They can apply the strategies developed through the challenge and the certificate program to technologies being developed at Carolina and help translate important research into viable products that have an impact on society.”

The UNC Graduate Certificate in Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship used the challenge to introduce students to the entrepreneurial aspects of translational sciences. The PhD and post-doctoral candidates are studying biomedical engineering, pharmacy, genetics, chemistry, biology, biochemistry and biophysics, and microbiology and immunology.

The certificate program expands their training and education in technology commercialization. It focuses on how cutting-edge innovations are brought to the marketplace, with an emphasis on the startup company as the primary vehicle for commercialization.

“The exposure and training provided by experts from Carolina KickStart and the Kenan Institute, while we pursue the Graduate Certificate are extremely valuable,” said Keriayn Smith, a post-doctoral research associate in genetics. “This Neuro Startup Challenge is an excellent real-world opportunity for us as entrepreneurially minded trainees to contribute to the development of a therapy for a targeted neurological disorder.”

The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, Carolina KickStart and Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC Kenan-Flagler developed the certificate program.

About the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Consistently ranked one of the world’s best business schools, UNC Kenan-Flagler is known for its collaborative culture that stems from its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork. Professors excel at both teaching and research, and demonstrate unparalleled dedication to students. Graduates are effective, principled leaders who have the technical and managerial skills to deliver results in the global business environment. UNC Kenan-Flagler offers a rich portfolio of programs and extraordinary, real-life learning experiences: Undergraduate Business (BSBA), full-time MBA, Executive MBA Programs (Evening, Weekend and global OneMBA®), online MBA@UNC, UNC-Tsinghua Dual-Degree EMBA, Master of Accounting, PhD, Executive Development, and UNC Business Essentials programs. It is home to the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

Biomedical science

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