Congratulations to Engineering and Entrepreneurship@UVic, #7 in 2011's Most Innovative Organizations in B.C.
Every year governments dole out billions in research grants, hoping that if enough seeds are planted in the intellectually fertile soil of universities, a few might grow into fruit-bearing trees to feed an increasingly innovation-dependent economy. It’s a proven concept: Research in Motion germinated partially at the University of Waterloo, Google at Stanford. Some ideas survive the perilous process of being uprooted from the warm, sheltered greenhouses of academia to the harsh, cold world of business. But most never make it.
The idea behind UVic’s new engineering entrepreneurship master’s program is to grow ideas that have a business plan encoded in their DNA. The brainchild of professor Ted Darcie, a former head of innovative network technologies for AT&T Labs with as many patents under his belt as academic papers, the program is a partnership with tech VC firm Wesley Clover International Corp.
The deal is that Wesley Clover brings real-world technological problems into the classroom, then the students work out commercially viable solutions under the tutelage of industry veterans. For one of our panellists, focusing academic brainpower on problems the market has already identified is “painfully commonsensical to anybody with an entrepreneurial bone in their body.” So not only is the program itself impressively innovative, but we are likely to see some of the businesses emerging from it on this list in the future.