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Jul. 21, 2014 8:23 am

IMET gets $600K to make entrepreneurs out of scientists

The three-year gift will support a new curriculum launching at the downtown lab this fall.

A graduate student at work at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology.

(Photo courtesy of IMET)

A new grant-funded program at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology will help graduate students tie what they learn about molecular biology and sustainable aquaculture to real-world commercial applications.

Last week, the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation awarded the downtown research institute a three-year, $600,000 grant to launch the Ratcliffe Environmental Entrepreneurs Fellowship Program. The program launches in September.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to train our graduate students in some additional skills on top of the advanced training they get already in the environmental sciences,” said IMET director Russell Hill.

The new curriculum will include courses on intellectual property, venture capital development and marketing for eight to 12 students. The program includes externships and two annual stipend-paid fellowship positions. One graduate per year will receive seed capital to start their own venture, Hill said.

“They come out as competent molecular biologists with a lot of skills,” Hill said. “Increasingly, we also want to make sure our students are really well-equipped to move into the marketplace and start their own business.”

The classes will be taught over weekends in the fall and spring semester by a team of outside instructors led by IMET Assistant Director Nick Hammond, who is leading tech transfer efforts at the facility. The program will be marketed to graduate students nationwide, according to a release.

“I think our students will benefit greatly from being able to do these business skills on top of the training they already receive,” Hill said. “I think part of the reason the Ratcliffe Foundation wanted to do this program here, they see that our students already receive this environmental training and they wanted them to receive this hands-on business training.”

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Tyler Waldman

Tyler Waldman is lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. A Towson University graduate and former local editor for Patch.com, Tyler has also written and photographed for publications including the Baltimore Brew, Howard County Times and Towson Times. He lives in Charles Village.

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