In the interview, Reiss, a venture capitalist, describes the funding options that are open to university start-ups and the things that founders should focus on to attract further investment. Building on this, he looks at the skill set that’s typically required to translate discoveries from the lab to the market.
In his experience, researchers tend to underestimate the amount of time that it takes to fully develop a product. Reiss also points out that the iterative nature of product development won’t appeal to everyone.
Focusing on specific sectors, he sees lots of opportunities coming out of materials research thanks in part to advances in computer modelling, which make it easier to tailor materials properties.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has selected a consortium led by Northwestern University to establish a new NIST-sponsored center of excellence for advanced materials research. The new Center for Hierarchical Materials Design (CHiMaD) will be funded in part by a $25 million award from NIST over five years.
QuesTek Innovations (a small business spin-off of Northwestern University)
Fayetteville State University
“The launch of this new center represents a major milestone in support of the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) and our national goal of doubling the pace of discovery and development of novel materials,” said Cyrus Wadia, assistant director for Clean Energy and Materials R&D at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
As NIST points out in the announcement, it’s estimated that the average time from laboratory discovery of a new material to its first commercial use can take up to 20 years. The US MGI aims to halve that.