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Wayne State tech transfer: New leadership, new programs, new stability

June 24, 2013

In late May, Wayne State University announced that Joan Dunbar would lead its technology commercialization efforts. She had already been serving in the position on an interim basis since the spring of 2012. Dunbar, the founding director of biotechnology development and biomedical innovation in Wayne State's School of Medicine, beat out several national candidates. In just a year on the job, Dunbar nearly doubled faculty invention disclosures, assisted in the launch of nine startups, initiated a mentors-in-residence program, created the Innovation Fellows Program, began the Technology Development Incubator, and strengthened partnerships with WSU's TechTown accelerator. Last month, the New Economy Initiative (NEI) also announced it was renewing its support for WSU's technology commercialization office to the tune of more than $820,000. Dunbar says the funding will go toward two main activities: beefing up the Technology Development Incubator and the Innovation Fellows Program. "What NEI has been able to do has been incredible," Dunbar says. "The money has allowed us to recruit mentors, and that's been huge."