Texas Tech University

Research Team at Rawls College Awarded Faculty Research Grant by VentureWell

March 11, 2020 | By: Archie Pitsilides 

The grant will support the integration of environmentally responsible practices and methodologies into curriculum.

Rawls CollegeA team of six researchers at the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business has been awarded a faculty research grant to support students in the STEM MBA Program through the development of an "integrative project" focused on the entrepreneurial experiences possible through technology commercialization. 

The project is led by Ronald Mitchell, professor of entrepreneurship and Jean Austin Bagley Regents Chair in Management; Mike Ryan, associate professor of practice in the Area of Management; and Alejandra Marin, instructor in the Area of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Additional research and teaching team members from the Area of Marketing and Supply Chain Management include Atul Parvatiyar, professor of practice, Mark Fish and Dino Villegas, both associate professors of practice.

The grant was awarded by VentureWell, a non-profit network that supports the creation of an emerging generation of science and technology inventors and the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems that are critical to their success. The organization builds communities of practice among faculty and helps early-stage innovators develop products and ventures that improve life for people and the planet.

Mike Ryan
Mike Ryan

"The VentureWell proposal process is very competitive, as institutions of higher learning from across the country are invited to submit plans for delivering innovation and commercialization curriculum that highlights sustainability and positive societal impact," said Ryan. "As one of sixteen awardees this year, VentureWell's support for the STEM MBA Integrative Project will allow our students the opportunity to broaden their entrepreneurial impact across campus and our regional community."

The "STEM-MBA Integrative Project" will allow students to utilize their diverse skills, domain-specific knowledge, and their passion for STEM to collaborate on a year-long project as part of an "e-team." E-teams will be selected and organized by the integrative project research team based on student interviews and input from Texas Tech University's entrepreneurial ecosystem stakeholders including; Texas Tech's Innovation Hub at Research Park (iHub) programming partners, the Office of Research Commercialization and community mentors. E-teams will select an as-yet un-commercialized technology from inventions disclosed to the Office of Research Commercialization and then work together to develop a marketing and sales strategy for their product or service.

The STEM-MBA Integrative Project is designed so that students can put the knowledge and skills learned in their courses into practice as part of a real project. The project is based on the Integrative Teaching Model, which enables students to overcome (reduce) three types of uncertainty (informational, relational, and resource) that are primarily responsible for the unstructured nature of problems in business and technology commercialization.

Each team will have access to technology expertise and mentorship through iHub, which hosts numerous programs for students and community members to engage in entrepreneurship and innovation-related activities. Additionally, Texas Tech is a member of the Southwest National Science Foundation (NSF) I-CORPS Node, which will allow e-teams to engage in I-Corps training during their program. The training is designed to help participants understand the value of their technology and inventions to society by teaching them how to assess market opportunity and commercial potential.

"This grant will offer our STEM MBA students a great opportunity to engage in a real-world entrepreneurial scenario that utilizes the proven process employed by the NSF I-Corps program," said Ryan. "It is our hope that some of the teams will use this process as a stepping-stone to apply for a NSF National I-Corps grant."

VentureWell includes a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from across the U.S., engaging thousands of undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs each year and is a leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to the world.
Meet all of the VentureWell grantees here and learn more about the program here.