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Press Release 93-32
Linda S. Ellis
(Bus: 216/433-2900)

Students Enlisted to Help turn NASA Inventions into New Productions

Cleveland, OH -- NASA Lewis Research Center, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Battelle Memorial Institute announced today the kick-off of a new initiative to commercialize NASA inventions by using top graduate students at CWRU to come up with new product ideas and strategies.

"Ensuring that the NASA innovation can be applied in the marketplace is a high priority at Lewis," said Larry Ross, Director of Lewis. "We believe this important new program will put some of the best young minds in the area to work on finding new product ideas for the innovations of some of our top scientists and engineers."

The program is known as the Strategic Technology Evaluation Program (STEP). Participants include Lewis, Battelle Memorial Institute's Great Lakes Industrial Technology Center, the Weatherhead School of Management, CWRU's Center for the Management of Science and Technology and Enterprise Development Inc.

"We are excited about this program," said Scott Cowen, Dean of the Weatherhead School of Management. "We believe the CWRU graduate students will be able to bring a new perspective to commercializing these promising federal government innovations."

STEP is a path-breaking program in which a dozen top graduate students at CWRU, chosen from diverse fields including engineering, business, law and architecture, work as a team to develop commercialization strategies for selected inventions made at Lewis over the last several years. During the highly intensive eight-week process, the students will examine more than 90 NASA patents and invention disclosures. The inventions the students will be working with are primarily materials, electrical/electronic and mechanical device fields.

"This kind of government-university-industry cooperation has been critical to U.S. economic competitiveness in the recent past," said Douglas E. Olesen, President and CEO of the Battelle Memorial Institute. "STEP is a clear example of the great potential of such cooperative activity. I am particularly pleased by the high level of hands-on industrial involvement in the program."

The students will be guided by an Industrial Advisory Group, which is comprised of leading industrialists, venture capitalists, patent counsels and commercialization experts from throughout Ohio.

The students, who were chosen on the basis of both their academic and work-related experience, will be guided in their research by Weatherhead School of Management faculty members. Students will be paid for their work and given the option of receiving academic credit.

A "kick-off" panel discussion and dinner for this new program is scheduled to be held Monday, May 24, at the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Brook Park. Participants will include Larry Ross, Scott Cowen, Cleveland corporate leaders, including Frank Mosier, Chairman of the Ohio Science and Technology Council, STEP students, faculty advisors and the members of the Industrial Advisory Group.

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