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New Thayer Program Teaches Technology and Entrepreneurship

Thayer School of Engineering is preparing to train a new generation of technology leaders with the nation’s first doctoral-level engineering Innovation Program. The program will provide engineering Ph.D. candidates with the entrepreneurial training they need to turn complex research discoveries into applied technologies.

Yifeng Liao
Dartmouth recently filed a patent application based on the work of Ph.D. candidate Yifeng Liao (in photo) and Professor of Engineering Ian Baker. Liao and Baker have discovered a novel metal alloy with potential applications for making a stronger alternative to stainless steel. (Photo by John Sherman)

Beginning fall term 2008, students admitted to the program will learn the process of technology innovation through a combination of coursework, project work, an internship, and the opportunity to turn their engineering research in an applied direction. They will be able to supplement their engineering studies with courses in new venture creation, finance, accounting, patent law, marketing, and organizational behavior, and will have the opportunity to complete a three-to-six-month internship in a startup or other entrepreneurial enterprise. Graduates will receive an innovation certificate in addition to their Ph.D. degree.

The Innovation Program reflects Dartmouth’s commitment to serving humanity through engineering and addresses the nation’s need for people with both technical and entrepreneurial expertise. “Society needs more than technical skill from engineering graduates today,” says Joseph Helble, professor of engineering and dean of Thayer School. “We need graduates with the ability to apply those skills to solve society’s most pressing problems in critical areas such as energy, communications, the environment, and medicine.”

The program was made possible, in part, by gifts from two Dartmouth families. The William F. Holekamp ’70 family made a gift to the program, part of which will establish the Holekamp Family Fellowship for doctoral candidates. Program participants in the area of energy technologies will also be eligible to apply for funding through a new Energy Challenge Initiative. Made possible by the contribution of an anonymous alumnus and his family, it will provide seed funds for research projects that address global climate change. Support for the Energy Challenge Initiative will be awarded competitively. Applications will be invited from students at all levels, as well as from faculty. Senior honors students supported by the Energy Challenge Initiative will be known as Sonnerup Fellows, in honor of Bengt Sonnerup, the Sydney E. Junkins Professor of Engineering emeritus.

By CATHARINE LAMM


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Last Updated: 12/17/08