MSU Technologies Empowering Innovation and Internship Insights

Innovation center
Austin Evans, Intellectual Property and Commercialization Intern at MSU Technologies

Launching over 130 discoveries into patented products annually, Michigan State University’s Innovation Center manages to take ideas from concept to reality. Michigan State University’s technology transfer arm, MSU Technologies, plays a crucial role in the MSU Innovation Center by evaluating the commercial potential of each invention developed by MSU faculty and staff.

MSU Technologies’ professional staff works with researchers and industry representatives throughout the commercialization process to ensure that MSU’s technologies are properly protected by intellectual property before being made available on the market.

Along with MSUT’s staff, student interns are offered the experience of a lifetime by assisting staff members in carrying out their goal of facilitating the public use of technologies, patents, and copyrightable innovations. MSU Technologies Assistant Director Dr. Tom Herlache believes that one advantage of the internship program at MSUT is that “It allows MSU Technologies to be more fully integrated with campus and provide educational opportunities to our students.”

Intellectual Property and Commercialization intern Austin Evans studied human biology with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. After finding this internship position on Handshake, he knew this internship position applied perfectly to his biology background.

According to Evans, after receiving innovative technologies from MSU professors, interns conducted patent and marketing research, and critical details regarding the commercial potential of inventions were the primary focus of his internship.

Evans’ internship focused on the critical tasks involved in technology transfer and commercialization. In this process, innovative ideas from the academic environment are brought to the commercial marketplace for broader adoption.

According to Dr. Herlache, screening report meetings allowed student interns to present their findings and research to MSUT’s staff and other interns. Key metrics observed by MSUT’s staff include the ability to justify their positions on whether inventions are patentable and marketable or not.

“When we would go to present our technologies to our group members, I would be in charge of giving the presentation, going over the market research, and explaining why we should or shouldn’t dedicate resources to this project,” Evans explained.

After receiving his master’s degree in packaging science, Evans desires to become a packaging engineer. Evans emphasized how the need to pay close attention to detail throughout this internship will apply to his future occupation. An essential part of this job is highlighting the research done on a concept and determining the fate of the technology. Overlooking important details can lead to errors.

“Always stay detail-oriented; you have to remember that your input and your research will go a long way in figuring out if we will go forward with this technology,” Evans said. I intend on being a packaging engineer in the near future, and that’s a very detail-oriented position, and if you aren’t, it can cause many mistakes.”

Evans believes the most rewarding thing about the MSU Technologies internship is knowing that his decisions and the conclusions he reached with his tech manager genuinely had an impact. The extensive work of MSUT’s staff and interns impacts faculty researchers’ ideas and discoveries through their successful negotiation of almost 100 licenses with various companies.

“To anyone looking to apply what they’ve been learning in their classes while also learning more about their field of study, this internship is perfect for them, and I would highly recommend them to apply,” Evans stated.


About the MSU Innovation Center: 

The MSU Innovation Center is dedicated to fostering innovation, research commercialization, and entrepreneurial activities from the research and discovery happening across our campus every day. We act as the primary interface for researchers aiming to see their research applied to solving real-world problems and making the world a better place to live. We aim to empower faculty, researchers, and students within our community of scholars by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to bring their discoveries to the forefront. Through strategic collaborations with the private sector, we aim to amplify the impact of faculty research and drive economic growth while positively impacting society. We foster mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with the private sector through corporate-sponsored research collaborations, technology licensing discussions, and support for faculty entrepreneurs to support the establishment of startup companies.   

To inquire further and access additional information about the Michigan State University Technologies Internship Program, Click Here.

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