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von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center

Engineering students need an entrepreneurial mindset whether they plan to start companies or work in them. The Jacobs School's von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center supports the translation of university discoveries into viable products and services through pre-venture grants, entrepreneurial education, commercialization mentoring, and partnerships with industry, government, foundations and individuals.

"The role of proof-of-concept centers like ours is not to pick winners, it is to unplug the pipeline, seed as many projects as we can and give the faculty and students the resources they need to move forward," said Rosibel Ochoa, executive director of the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center.

Ochoa traveled to Washington, D.C., Oct. 18 and 19 to provide a briefing to Senate and House staffers on how the federal government can facilitate the transfer of university research into commercial products and companies. She presented alongside bioengineering professor Geert Schmid- Schoenbein and John Rodenrys, CEO of InflammaGen, a startup - catalyzed by the von Liebig Center - that has licensed technology developed by Schmid-Schoenbein. The trip was arranged in coordination with CONNECT.

In front of Capitol Image
(L-R) Rosibel Ochoa, John Rodenrys, Geert Schmid-Schoenbein and John Watson


Their visit was timely as elected and other government officials wrestle with how best to invest in initiatives that have the potential to boost emerging industries and start fast-growing businesses that create jobs. Ochoa said a combination of federal, foundation and private company dollars channeled into proof-of-concept centers across the country, like von Liebig, is critical. There is an opportunity for Washington to support these programs in a substantial manner by reprogramming existing funding toward the proof-of-concept stage.

This translational phase of research is one of the most important in the evolution of a commercial product, but it is traditionally deemed as too risky and lengthy by private investors and entrepreneurs. They prefer to wait until the technologies have passed this phase before investing, leaving many technologies sitting in the lab and not going anywhere, explained Ochoa. To attend von Liebig Center events and join in their 10 year anniversary visit:

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