Thinking About Developing Intellectual Property?

July 16, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The entrepreneurial ecosystem University of Virginia provides knowledge, skills, and funds from many different sources to help develop research ideas. If you have an idea and want it to bloom, there are many ways in which you can get help. Here are a few resources. (You can click on the bold blue print to be connected to relevant links.)


  • Classes & Seminars. Many classes provide education around intellectual property and commercialization of ideas, including the graduate class CELL8401, “The Essentials of Translational Science,” or the “Due Diligence in Seed Funds” course at Darden, in which students work alongside the UVA LVG Seed Fund team in assessing opportunities and learning about investing in science via projects. The Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, too, has a number of such classes. Dr. David Touve coordinates a seminar series called Cornerstone, which brings together MBA students with PhD students in the sciences to focus on the commercialization of projects. Last fall, the PhD students received a semester-long background in the language and tools of early-stage ventures. They discussed how a company might think about commercialization, market sizing, and product pricing. This spring, teams formed around particular inventions which resulted in a presentation project.
  • Entrepreneurship Cup. This University-wide student competition consists of three different stages: concept, discovery, and launch. Each stage has its own competition and run in the fall, winter, and spring, respectively. Students can win $25k for the first two stages, and $50k for the final stage. Click here for more information.
  • Going Pro. Biomedical Engineering’s (BME) program provides BME graduate students hands-on experience to pursue a career in industry by providing an internship, mentoring, and professional development. Students who have completed their second year of the PhD program and successfully passed their comprehensive exam are invited to apply. More information can be found here.


  • Cville Biohub. Development, promotion, and growth of business does not happen in a vacuum; sometimes it takes community. This local group was created to inform and connect the biotech and life sciences communities, to provide pathways for business growth, and to promote the Charlottesville as a center for this dynamic industry. Check out their data and graphics on how UVA is driving innovation in our area. There are 60+ members in this biohub; click here for the list.
  • Galant Challenge. Have a compelling seed- or early-stage-venture? Seeking investors to take it to the next level? This annual event, held in the spring, is sponsored by the McIntire School of Commerce and connects startups from the UVA community with potential investors. In the past few years, this event has successfully funded ventures with more than $1.5M in capital. Click here for details on the 2018 event and stay tuned for details on 2019’s challenge.
  • I-Corps. UVA is one of 89 locations to be named a National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Site. This designation’s purpose is to develop commercial products from federally funded research. This program is orchestrated by Engineering and is focused on customer discovery (e.g., “Who may want this?”) around inventions. UVA receives this funding to train teams of students, faculty and community businesses to inspire effective innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. Two cohorts have been completed with participants from a variety of schools and research topics. About 27 percent of the participants are from the heathcare and medical fields. For more information, click here.
  • i.Lab. The W.L. Lyons Brown III Laboratory, or i.Lab, is a University-wide initiative that supports innovators and entrepreneurs with programs, funding, workspace, mentors, and community. This is the result of 11 schools at UVA collaborating. Check their site for i.Lab events, like workshops and Entrepreneurs + Espresso, throughout the year. i.Lab’s Incubator Program is a 10-week residential program that supports 20-25 early-stage ventures a year and develops new entrepreneurs. Check out the site or contact Sandra McCutcheon to get connected with the Incubator Program.
  • UVA EntrepreneurshipThis site aggregates entrepreneurial resources across from across the University. It lists courses, competitions, communities, conferences, and provides a calendar of events. Other resources found here include available centers, workspaces, and makespaces. Bookmark this page — — if you think you may need some assistance and want to know what’s going on across the University.
  • UVA Licensing & Ventures Group. If a faculty member is thinking about starting a company, this is the place to start. This group’s mission is to maximize the impact of UVA’s innovation assets via commercialization, while providing high levels of customer service, value-added business development, new venture creation, and a focus on driving quality transactions. They partner with faculty, entrepreneurs, and investors to bring innovations discovered at UVA into the marketplace. Additionally, they facilitate invention disclosures; patent, copyright, or trademark strategies; licensing and market assessment; and proactive assistance in assessing new ventures based on UVA technology. Each department in the School of Medicine has a specific member of this group assigned to them — please take advantage of their expertise.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it provides a general overview of the landscape and offers a starting point where entrepreneurs and innovators can get assistance with their ideas.

Margaret A. Shupnik, PhD
Gerald D. Aurbach Professor of Endocrinology
Professor of Medicine
Senior Associate Dean for Research

Filed Under: Research