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February 23rd, 2012

Entrepreneurship and technology transfer focus of ICC4 and 3rd Ceramic Leadership Summit track

Published on February 23rd, 2012 | Edited by: Eileen De Guire

Rod Lanthorne, Kyocera, Joel Moskowitz, Ceradyne, and David Morse, Corning address “Emerging Business and Technology Opportunities” at the 1st Ceramic Leadership Summit in 2010. Credit: ACerS.

Most of the meetings we organize here at ACerS have a strong technical slant, as they should. But, eventually, science and technology need to leave the lab and find their ways into the marketplace.

Like anyone else needing to navigate unfamiliar territory, it helps to get directions. And that, is what the Ceramic Leadership Summit is all about—navigating the business side of our world alongside those who know the terrain.

Mark Mecklenborg has been involved in all aspects of CLS since the beginning in his role as ACerS director of meetings. I asked him to tell us more about the 3rd CLS taking place this July 17 in Chicago. Abstracts and program details are at the end of his report.

Mark’s report:

The 4th International Congress on Ceramics focuses on Shaping the Future of Ceramics. As part of the Congress, ACerS is running its 3rd Ceramics Leadership Summit as a one-day track focusing on technology transfer and entrepreneurship. The 3rd Ceramic Leadership Summit track is sponsored by Morgan Crucible.

Summits are designed to foster interaction and innovation. This diagram was drawn by a participant at the 2nd CLS in 2011 while networking with colleagues.

ACerS first launched the Ceramic Leadership Summit in 2010 to explore business opportunities, emerging technologies and critical issues that challenge the ceramic and glass materials community.  Since then, the Summits have been all about business and technology leadership and connecting leaders within the community.

Including the 3rd CLS within the Congress allows it to expand to address a global audience. The first two Ceramic Leadership Summits provided rich opportunities to explore business and technology topics with leaders from mostly within the United States.  However, by including this track within the larger International Congress on Ceramics, we are able to provide participants with even greater prospects to network with business leaders from around the world and focus on more global issues.

The 3rd Ceramic Leadership Summit Track includes an ICC4-wide plenary lecture from Delbert Day, “From Academia to Business.” Day will describe how research at the Missouri University of Science and Technology to develop glass microspheres for treating patients with inoperable liver cancer was ‘spun off’ and ultimately led to the formation of a start-up company that currently manufactures a range of specialized glass products for the health care, electronics, transportation and aerospace industry. Day has “walked the walk” as the university’s Curators’ Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering and senior investigator of the Graduate Center for Materials Research. He is founder of the of Mo-Sci Corporation and served for many years as its chairman and president.

2nd CLS participants during Q&A session on business opportunities and strategies.

2nd CLS participants during Q&A session on business opportunities and strategies.

Following Day’s plenary lecture, the Ceramic Leadership Summit track will feature a panel discussion— Technology Entrepreneurship – the Next Generation of Technology Transfer — organized by Richard Weber, Materials Development Inc., and moderated by Tim Lavengood, Evanston Technology Innovation Center. The panel will explore the development of commercial products through “directed R&D,” with a focus on U.S.-based small business ventures.

In the afternoon, the track includes five case studies describing technology transfer and how entrepreneurial companies have been formed or are currently being formed.  The case studies come from a around the world, including Slovenia, China, Spain, Japan and the U.S.

Here are the program details on the 3rd Ceramic Leadership Summit Track.

3rd Ceramic Leadership Summit Track
Sponsored by Morgan Crucible

Tuesday July 17, 2012

8:45 am – 9:40 am
ICC4 Plenary Lecture
From Academia to Business
Delbert Day, Mo-Sci Corp. and Missouri University of Science and Technology

“There is increasing recognition that the research being conducted in our nation’s universities can lead to discoveries and inventions which can be of significant economic value when they are commercialized. This presentation describes how research the university to develop glass microspheres for treating patients with inoperable liver cancer was ‘spun off’ and ultimately led to the formation of a start-up company, which currently manufactures many specialized glass products for the health care, electronics, transportation and aerospace industry.  He will describe the important roles of the federal, state, and local governments, the university and others in this successful technology transfer effort.  Day will also discuss some of the challenges an entrepreneur can expect to encounter in starting a new business.

10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Panel discussion
Technology Entrepreneurship — the Next Generation of Technology Transfer

Many people perceive the United States as the leader in entrepreneurship and technology transfer from basic research to a commercial setting. This moderated panel discussion will explore the development of commercial products through directed R&D with a focus on U.S.-based small business ventures. It will follow a plenary talk by the founder of a successful ceramic materials company that takes technologies from the lab bench to established commercial products. The panel members — entrepreneurs, investors and technology transfer experts — will each make brief opening remarks. They will be followed by a question and answer session in which the moderator will develop the theme of starting, funding, staffing and growing technology-based businesses. There will be time for questions from the audience.

Session Chair: Richard Weber, Materials Development Inc.
Moderator: Tim Lavengood, Evanston Technology Innovation Center

Panel members

Delbert Day (see above)
Collin Anderson, Digital Innovations (a successful technology business)
Alex Arzoumanidis, Psylotech Inc. (an early-stage technology business)
Jonathan Goodman, Synthesis Intellectual Property LLC (attorney who specializes in intellectual property matters)
Leslie Millar, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (head of the school’s Office of Technology Management

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Lunch and ICC4 Plenary Speaker (TBD)

1:40 pm – 3:40 pm
International Technology Transfer & Entrepreneurship Case Studies:

1. Entrepreneurial Success of Balder Ltd.: Electro-optic Light Shutters for Eye Protection
Janez Pirs, Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia

Balder Ltd. is a small, medium high-tech, privately owned, spin-off company of Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia. Balder was funded in late 1990s in order to commercialize the IP of the institute in the field of Liquid Crystals, in particular to produce and market automatic LCD light filters for eye protection in welding and various medical applications. As the institute’s spin-off company, Balder actively participated in a number of the institute’s applied research projects financed by several international research programs (e.g., EU and NATO SfP). The research results of these projects provided Balder the key novel knowledge in the field of LCD light shutters, which are summarized in six patents (EU and U.S.). Since 2000, Balder’s world market share was constantly growing (≥15%). However, there were hurdles along the way to the top of the niche world market (for example, a lawsuit alleging IP infringement plus the global economic crisis) that severely hurt Balder’s sales in 2009-2010. Thanks to the new-generation products launched on the market during the crisis, Balder managed to fully recover.

2. Development and Commercialization of High Performance Ceramics for Oil and Natural Gas Recovery
John Hellmann, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.

Developments in horizontal drilling technology offer unprecedented access to domestic oil and natural gas deposits, thereby placing the U.S. on the verge of sustained energy independence. Critical to this technology are spherical ceramic aggregates, known as proppants, which are used for enhancing oil and gas recovery from hydrofractured wells. However, ceramic proppants are derived from sintered aluminosilicates such as bauxite, a material that is becoming increasingly scarce in the quality and quantities necessary to meet market demand for proppants. This presentation summarizes our development and commercialization of glass–ceramic proppants from alternative raw materials derived from industrial waste streams. These proppants, manufactured from basalt-based mine tailings and drill cuttings from shale gas wells, rival sintered bauxite-based proppants with regard to strength, hardness, specific gravity and conductivity in industry standard testing. Progression from lab demonstration to large-scale processing and commercialization of these proppants is discussed.

3. From Technology Innovation to Industrialization: A Case of Ceramic Microbeads Based on Gel-bead Forming
Jinlong Yang, Tsinghua University, China

Researchers at the university invented a new method to prepare microbeads of ceramics was invented: gel-bead forming. They successfully developed three new products based on this work, including grinding media, pen-microbeads and far-infrared beads. Yang will discuss many of the experiences and practices about technology transfer they encountered. Usually, a big company is interested in reliable technology, not lab technology (especially for new processing). The process from lab technology to middle-scale production line is very important for technology transfer of ceramic microbeads. But a technology innovation is often not enough for a startup company. It also needs an innovative and competitive product and a good business model. Sometimes, a good business model is more important than technology in itself. In addition, the scientist’s investment at the beginning of industrialization from lab to market is a key step to increase the confidence of investor. A new product with low associated costs and good performance is a more attractive force than new processing alone.

4. Thermoelectric Power Generation in Wide Temperature Region
Ryoji Funahashi, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology, Japan

Oxide thermoelectric materials are considered to be promising ones because of their durability against high temperature, cost, no content of toxic elements, and so on. Many types of modules using p-type Ca3Co4O9 and n-type CaMnO3 have been produced. They show good generation power density higher than 4 kilowatts per cubic meter. To enhance power generation and conversion efficiency, scientists and engineers produced cascaded modules consisting of oxide and Bi2Te3 modules. For example, they have produced thermoelectric heat-recovery systems, which are composed of a heat-collection block, cascaded modules and a water jacket for cooling. Such a system includes 16 pieces of oxide/Bi2Te3 cascaded modules. The dimension of the system is about 300 mm cube. Power generation has been measured using a kerosene burner. When the temperature of input gas was 1123 K, maximum power from one thermoelectric heat recovery system reached 120 W.

5. Case Study on Neoker
Carmen Cerecedo, general manager and CEO, Neoker S.L., Spain

Neoker manufactures the NKR single-crystal alumina fibers for reinforcement of high performance composites.

3:45 pm to 6:00 pm
Exhibit and Interactive Technology Forum


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