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Notre Dame launches new master’s program in engineering, science and technology entrepreneurship

by Marissa Runkle

August 24, 2009

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As the 2009-10 academic year begins at the University of Notre Dame this week, an inaugural group of 29 students pursuing a master of science in engineering, science, technology and entrepreneurship will begin their coursework.

The Engineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Master’s (ESTEEM) program, which is a collaboration among the College of Science, the College of Engineering and the Mendoza College of Business, teaches students to innovate and develop entrepreneurial skills and abilities specific to modern technology and science companies, crucial for the successful translation of science and engineering research in the world economy.

Students in the ESTEEM program will learn valuable skills in transforming science and engineering knowledge and discovery into societal and economic value. In addition to classes on finance, strategy and technical marketing, each student will complete a capstone business plan and value creation project. Guided by a faculty mentor, who will provide the seed of an idea for a breakthrough technology from his or her research, each student will develop a plan for commercializing the idea. Students may have the opportunity to further develop their plans into an actual business. The students will utilize the resources of Innovation Park at Notre Dame, the three-story, 55,000-square-foot building located near campus which will aid in accelerating the market pathways for University research.

From small startups to Fortune 500 companies, businesses demand technologically grounded entrepreneurs who can identify new business opportunities and have the skills to develop them.

“I think this program is a natural advancement for Notre Dame,” said Carolyn Woo, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business. “It brings together science, business and engineering in a collaborative effort that allows the students to take their education and their knowledge … to create something tangible. You achieve the most leverage when you have all the disciplines working together.”

Science, engineering, law and business faculty with interests and experience in business and technology management will lead the program, based on dynamic, small group interaction among faculty, students and technology leaders. The program will prepare students with entrepreneurial skills, and the ability to manage human, financial and technological capital, as well as expertise in their specific field of knowledge.

“The best part of ESTEEM is that students will be immersed in emerging technologies while learning and using business leadership skills that will bring these technologies to fruition,” said Robert Alworth, interim director of the program.

“We will build upon Notre Dame’s greatest assets — an overarching desire to be a force for good in the world; a strong ethical and moral environment; a tradition of science, engineering, and business working collaboratively in a liberal arts environment; and the collective intellectual capital of extraordinary students, faculty, and external constituencies,” said Greg Crawford, dean of the College of Science.

“High technology innovation is the key to success for our nation’s economy, and ESTEEM fills an important need for skilled, entrepreneurial scientists and engineers,” said Peter Kilpatrick, McCloskey Dean of the College of Engineering. “I think ESTEEM will lead to additional cross-college programs in biomedical sciences and engineering, environmental sciences and engineering and in energy, all incorporating innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Graduates of the program will be prepared to be entrepreneurs in technology and science-based fields, whether starting their own small business or creating new opportunities in larger companies.

Contact: Robert Alworth, (574) 631-1364, Robert.L.Alworth.4@nd.edu