Programs and Activities

Inspire - Sharing Successes And Failures

The quarterly Presidential Innovation Dinner Series will focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, and global health in a relaxed, informal setting over a shared meal conducive to collegiality, social engagement, and collaborative problem-solving. Each dinner will concentrate on one of four themes: global impact, disruptive innovation, controversial issues, and trending innovation. The goals of the series are to inspire and enable conversations and develop new relationships. The format will involve a presentation by a panel of experts, each of whom is pursuing complementary approaches to address the topic in question. Each panelist will:

  1. Describe the “story” of their innovation from inception to its current state;
  2. Model the importance of involving multidisciplinary teams;
  3. Discuss how they’ve used setbacks as an opportunity to learn rather than seeing them as barriers;
  4. Discuss the resources, people, skills, and attitudes that have helped them to succeed; and
  5. Inspire the audience to pursue their own innovations.

The presentations will be about 40 minutes long, followed by 20 minutes of questions and audience discussion. Fifty attendees will receive special invitations from the president (or provost) to participate.

We have lined up four topics for the 2018–2019 academic year, to be tentatively held on the second Monday in November, February, April, and July.

Presidential Innovation Dinner Series Topics

Reducing Maternal Mortality through Enhanced Information and Communication

Presented by Scott McNabb, research professor, Rollins School of Public Health; John Nkengasong, director, African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and adjunct professor, Rollins School of Public Health; Benn Konsynski, George S. Craft Distinguished University Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management, Goizueta Business School; and Affan Shaikh, senior technical consultant, Public Health Practice

Discovery and Development of Antiviral Therapeutic Agents for HIV

Presented by Dennis Liotta, professor, Emory College of Arts and Sciences; George Painter, professor, Emory School of Medicine, CEO of DRIVE, and director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development; and Paul Reider, lecturer, Princeton University, and former executive director of process development and manufacturing at Merck

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Radiology

Presented by Carolyn Meltzer, chair, Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory School of Medicine; John Banja, professor, Center for Ethics; Gari Clifford, interim chair, Emory Bioinformatics, and associate professor of biomedical engineering; and Nabile Safdar, vice chair, Imaging Informatics, Emory School of Medicine

Virtual Reality Treatment of PTSD and Other Psychiatric Disorders

Presented by Barbara Rothbaum, associate vice chair of psychiatry, Emory School of Medicine, and executive director of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program

Engage - Expanding Our Knowledge Base Beyond Disciplinary Borders

The first component of Engage will be to launch two new university-level entrepreneurship courses in the 2018–2019 academic year. The first, Introduction to Entrepreneurship for STEM Graduate Students (STEMpreneurship), sponsored by Goizueta Business School, focuses on entrepreneurship processes for creating new ventures and the challenges of innovating in large organizations. The second course, Basics of Intellectual Property and Business Development (IP/BD), will be offered in spring 2019 as a 700-level graduate course that covers the fundamentals of these topics (we present both course curricula in the appendices A3 and A4).

Engage will promote the Ideas Competition and Immersion Program (ICIP) (outlined in appendix A5). This competition seeks out those innovators with ideas not likely to be commercialized, but which could have a significant impact on Emory, Atlanta, and/or international communities (e.g., a public health or ministry intervention).

The explicit goal of ICIP will be to stimulate and incentivize the generation of ideas that provide socially responsible solutions to real-world problems. This formal entrepreneurship program will be administered by I@E and is designed to serve as a resource for all Emory faculty, students, and staff. Mentors will be chosen from across the university. Participants will be recruited annually and must commit to participate for nine months to develop and/or implement their solutions.

The ICIP will operate as follows:

  • A request for proposals (RFP) will be issued at the beginning of each academic year and distributed broadly across campus, calling for potential solutions to globally relevant problems. Applicants will be required to submit budgets and timelines for completion of their projects.
  • Submissions will be made through a web portal and the executive summary or abstract of each submission will be made available to the Emory community. The entire Emory community will have the opportunity to vote for favorite projects and comment on aspects of the proposal. Importantly, the community will be able to provide feedback regarding potential experts.
  • Upon receiving votes and comments, the ICIP review committee will convene to select a subset of proposals that are deemed the most meritorious.
  • These proposals will then be subjected to a more well defined and rigorous review process, including a scoring sheet with detailed criteria that will be used by a panel of internal and external experts.
  • Approximately 5–10 projects will be selected annually to go through the immersion program.
  • Each selected team will receive up to $1,000 in cash or in-kind support to facilitate the completion of their project.
  • The immersion program will incorporate a milestone-driven mentoring process with well-defined timelines and periodic project updates.
  • At the end of the ninth months, the projects will be showcased either through a poster or “pitch your idea” event.

Empower - Providing The Tools Needed To Enhance Problem-Solving And Critical Thinking Skills

We propose to develop Experiential Learning and Innovation Training programs that will require the delivery of applied curricula to support individuals who have a specific idea they would like to develop into a new product or service. Once these foundational activities have been established, more formal programs that provide accelerator and incubator experiences could be ramped up quickly when resources are allocated.

One example of this type of training is the Emory Biotech Consulting Club (EBCC), which will be led by William Wuest, Taylor Hari, a postdoctoral fellow, and Erika Csatary, a predoctoral student. This is a semester-long start-up accelerator program open to the entire Emory community. The mission of the EBCC is to provide advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows with an immersion experience in scientific business consulting in partnership with the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) and Emory faculty who seek to commercialize their technologies. The primary objective of the club is to team up individuals with a common interest in a specific technology.

The teams will consist of students at all levels (including at least one MBA or undergraduate business student), principal investigators (PIs), and/or local start-ups with the goal of transforming their early-stage ideas into viable business plans. The OTT will be actively involved with the club and aid in securing academic projects with translational potential. While teams will work on developing their business plans and products independently, they will have regularly scheduled meetings with a start-up representative, OTT liaison, and consulting experts throughout the semester.

Initially, the EBCC is expected to operate with approximately five teams per semester. Each semester will culminate in a presentation of all projects as “pitches” to the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) to assess their commercial viability. These will include a discussion and question session from a panel of mentors, entrepreneurs, and experts. We anticipate the outcomes of the EBCC to benefit its participants in a number of ways:

  • Students will be able to build networks in their fields of interest while gaining hands-on experience and developing new skill sets in alternative disciplines, thereby expanding their career opportunities.
  • PIs will be empowered to advance their ideas/early-stage technologies. By sharing the development workload, they increase the likelihood of success (i.e., securing funding and/or launching a business).
  • The OTT can improve the likelihood of success by providing market analyses and attracting new partners. As a consequence, they will increase awareness of their offerings and capabilities.
  • The GRA will be able to promote its presence within the Emory network, provide support to new start-ups, and have the opportunity to grow the EBCC within the greater Atlanta area by including Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.
  • Emory can enhance its network via new commercial sector partnerships and collaborations while promoting innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. This also will help attract new students as well as commercial sector partners, which could enhance donations to the university.

Other skills that could be developed through such training include, inter alia, a deeper understanding of human disease, druggable biological target space, current technologies and platforms for therapeutic and device discovery, translational medicine, and academic/industry partnerships for the development of new biomedical technologies.

President’s Innovation Fellowship Program

These unpaid volunteer positions are focused on providing education and hands-on experience for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and postgraduates. The fellowship balances formal training in best practices in innovation (both nationally and internationally) with specific projects that expose participants to the day-to-day workings of a university innovation center. The information collected by them will serve as the foundation for the development of Emory’s long-term plan to integrate innovation into all aspects of our activities.

Advise - Connecting With Experts

The Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiR) program brings experienced entrepreneurs and corporate innovators to campus for several days of presentations and meetings with students, faculty, and staff. EiR taps into the underutilized resource of alumni, commercial sector colleagues, and community members seeking to invest in Emory by sharing their subject matter expertise. EiR will advise and engage with faculty and students seeking to translate innovative ideas into interventions, products, and services. It will also serve as a cultural catalyst, guiding participants through the translational maze. The entrepreneurs’ knowledge base will assist in reducing novice mistakes and transforming ideas into tangible products that will enhance the lives of the communities we serve. This culture change, catalyzed by the EiR program, will ultimately result in the development of more and better innovations by both faculty and students.

The recruitment of EiRs will require flexibility on our part. An EiR's commitment might be as little as two days a semester or as much as one full semester per resident with a one- to two-year renewable agreement. Each entrepreneur must have an institutional sponsor and will engage with the Emory community via presentations, virtual connections, individual coaching, and classroom visits. Since the enticements required to induce a given individual to participate in the program can vary substantially from person to person, we will not prescribe any specific details about individual engagement packages (e.g., compensation, reimbursement of travel expenses, annual onsite time commitment, etc.) but will instead evaluate each opportunity on a case-by-case basis.

The first program launched in August 2018 with the visit of Nick Draeger and Nora Frey, both of whom bring forth strong backgrounds in commercialization and entrepreneurship.

Transform - Putting Ideas And Initiatives Into Practice

The I@E experience culminates with the translation of an idea into a successful innovation, i.e., a product, service or intervention that addresses an unmet need. Success in this area is an important manifestation of the university’s mission of creating and disseminating knowledge. Students, staff and faculty are inspired, engaged and empowered to transform their personal experience and knowledge into solutions to real-world problems.