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Entrepreneurship ......


Obtaining transferable skills for a competitive edge is a goal for our UC Davis graduates, especially our predoctoral candidates in science and engineering with a designated emphasis in biotechnology (DEB). According to Paul Watson (Nature Biotechnology, Feb 2003), "Transferable or 'soft skills' can enhance your career mobility and increase your chances of success in landing the job you want... The following skills can help give you a competitive edge: people skills; communication skills; negotiation skills; business skills; creative and strategic thinking; time management; motivation and commitment; and personal image and self-awareness."

The new National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) has been form to address many of these issues. According to Shirley Malcom, "Even in terms of a research career, the question remains whether postdocs are given the range of experiences that prepares them to become independent investigators. It entails learning how to write grant proposal, to develop budgets, to estimate levels of effort, to understand equipment-purchasing procedures and so on." "Should we think of restructuring the entire post baccalaureate period to divide the time across coursework, skill development, research and career exploration?" Reference: A Dream Deferred or Realized? Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers. ASM News. 70:8. 2004.


bulletIn addition to the UC Davis Biotechnology Program and the DEB graduate program, the Office of Research and the Graduate School of Management are working to enhance entrepreneurial skills among UC Davis faculty and students. Both the Office of Research (OR) and the Graduate School of Management (GSM) are embracing the campus' strategic plan and objectives to increase the University's impact in regional economic development through new initiatives and programs that enhance the level and quality of technology transfer, business development and industry interactions in both education and interdisciplinary research programs. Furthermore, a substantial increase in the number of invention disclosures generated by the campus, coupled with the University's development of the Technology and Industry Alliances unit within the Office of Research, brings more opportunities to promote a culture of entrepreneurialism among our researchers and through the classroom to our students.

The Graduate School of Management (GSM) in collaboration with the Office of Research - Technology and Industry Alliances (OR-TIA) is offering a one-year program in Business Development for graduate students (and postdoctoral fellows) in science and engineering starting in Fall 2004. This program provides an introduction and hands-on experience in developing new business ventures designed to commercialize research. Students will take courses in technology management, innovation, and entrepreneurship and participate in practicums working in interdisciplinary teams alongside GSM students and under the guidance of GSM faculty, Staff from OR-TIA, and investors and entrepreneurs. Starting in Summer 2005, the Graduate School of Management (GSM) will also offer a Business Development Intensive Program in the form of a one week summer workshop

The Business Development program will provide the range of skills necessary to commercialize research, whether in new venture start-ups or in corporate research and development settings. These skills are intended to prepare graduating scientists and engineers for careers in entrepreneurial firms as well as industrial research and development.

The GSM's Big Bang Business Plan Competition, UC Davis CONNECT Office Hours and SARTA (Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance) are other ways for entrepreneurial faculty and students to obtain hands on skills.

The Graduate School of Management (GSM) also regularly hosts Distinguished Speaker events, which among others include presentations by industry executives which are are involved with company startups in the Biotechnology Sector. Most recently, the school hosted John Hamer, Co-Founder, CEO and President of Arête Therapeutics, Inc., a local Davis startup using licenced breakthrough research by UC Davis entomology Professor Bruce Hammock for cardiovascular drug development, on Bridging the Business and Academic Worlds (Windows Media).

Big Bang! offers those pursuing Master of Business Administration degrees as well as faculty and students in other areas, or anyone interested in entrepreneurship in general, an opportunity to develop considerable business plans to propose to potential investors. The contest at UCD kicks off every year in November and spans until final judging and awards are held in May. Many articles in The California Aggie provide excellent overviews of the variety of ideas and concepts that have been presented in the past.


bulletAn informative book that is helpful for prospective entrepreneurials who want to learn about the process of starting a biotech company is written by Yali Friedman, PhD., entitled, "Building Biotechnology: Starting, Managing, and Understanding Biotechnology Companies". (Review of book by Aris Persidis is here) Dr. Friedman received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Buffalo University and teaches MBA-level classes on the business of biotechnology. He is a guest lecturer at the Tepper School of Business and University of Buffalo School of Management and an invited speaker at the Richard Ivey School of Business. Click here for a functional overview of the biotechnology industry.


bulletThe UCD Biotechnology Program is proud to be a co-sponsor of The Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy (GTEA) along with the Kauffman Foundation and hosted by the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship and will be held March 26-30, 2007 at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences at Sierra Nevada College. This unique program bridges the gap between environmentally related research and the marketplace and provides participants the opportunity to experience the junction between cutting-edge research and the development of new market ventures.  Selected science and engineering Ph.D. and post-doctoral students and faculty from across the country will spend a week learning to recognize, develop, and bring to market green technology and advances built on their cutting-edge research.

The Kauffman Foundation is working with the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship to further expand this curriculum nationally.  Programs have already been implemented at UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, University of Illinois and University of Michigan during the past three years.  For this program the recruitment of fifty clean-tech Ph.D. and post-doctoral students and faculty from across the country has been coordinated with key academic sustainability, environmental, energy and entrepreneurial organizations andcenters across the nation.

Attached is the brochure and news article which provides details about the program.  To learn more, visit the UCD Davis Center for Entrepreneurship website at: and please do not hesitate to contact them directly with any questions you may have. 


The Center's ongoing objective is to serve as the nexus for entrepreneurship education and research - and as a springboard for entrepreneurial initiatives on the UC Davis campus. To accomplish this, we bring science, engineering and business students and faculty together with experienced entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders in an environment that blends effective theory with hands-on participation and solution-driven innovation. The Center for Entrepreneurship is a Center of Excellence at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

The Center has been successful in obtaining funding for graduates of its programs including the recent A round for SynapSense, a developer of wireless sensor networking solutions and technologies.

The Center's Winter 2007 publication, "Paving the Way from Lab to Market" with quote from Biotechnology Program's, Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology(DEB) student, Riccardo LoCascio.

UC Davis is also a partner of SARTA (Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance). SARTA is a non-profit organization founded to foster entrpreneurial growth in emerging technologies and attract venture capital to the greater Sacramento region. Amongst other activities, SARTA offers seminars on running tech companies.


bulletThe Business of Bioscience presentation by Craig Shimasaki, PhD

bulletJacob Jorgensen, M.D. (General Partner, Velocity Ventures) presentation, "What You Should Know If You Want to Start A Biotech Company"

bulletCaryle Vann, PhD. (Chemical Engineer and Product Manager; Genentech) presentation, "Life After Dissertation: Deriving Maximum Value From Career Investments"

bulletThe Last Lecture by Dr. Randy Pausch


Suggested Articles, Books, etc.

Biotech Training Programs Expand Employment Options by Clifford Mintz

Closing the Skills Gap by Linda Wang

NSF Program Fosters Scientists' Entrepreneurial Spirit by Andrea Widener

Cover Stories: Going Commmercial - Karen McDonald by Jyllian Kemsley

Helping Scientists Commercialize Inventions by Susan R. Morrissey

What Researchers Who Want to be Entrepreneurs Need to Know by Susan R. Morrissey

Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow by Chip Conley

The FIVE Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

A New Biology for the 21st Century by Board on Life Sciences and Earth and Life Studies

Speaking about Science: A Manual for Creating Clear Presentations by Scott Morgan and Barrett Whitener

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited by multiple authors

Venturing into New Ventures by Carol Milano

The Business of Bioscience: What Goes Into Making A Biotechnology Product by Craig Shimasaki, PhD

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

Green Grip Grow by T.S. Mills-Faraudo

Creating Alternatives in Science by Nicole Gravagna

Crossing Over; Academia or Industry; pdf OR

Careers and Recruitment; Biotech Education article in Nature Reviews with Dr. Judy Kjelstrom

The Eagle Parable by James Aggrey

Tips on Getting an Internship/Job

Building Biotechnology: Starting, Managing, and Understanding Biotechnology Companies by Yali Friedman, PhD

The Speed of Trust; The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey

The 8th Habit by Stephen M.R. Covey

Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998) and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships (2006) by Daniel Goleman

UC Davis Guide For Researchers Working With Industry - UCD Office of Research

For additional information, please contact Dr. Judith Kjelstrom, Director of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program and DEB Program Coordinator

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