LAUNCH on mission to innovate and accelerate

By Kat Nelson, Public Relations Specialist, Greater Waco Chamber

Accelerating an idea from the lab to the commercial market requires technical innovation, business savvy and targeted resources. The Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), now open for business, delivers it all in one convenient location. Potential industry clients are matched, through the Baylor Advanced Research Institute (BARI), to Baylor researchers who then collaborate on research topics of mutual interest. Intellectual property safeguards are put in place and the ongoing assessment of the feasibility and marketability of new technology begins. In addition, LAUNCH, the innovative business accelerator now resident at the BRIC, adds momentum to the development of emerging technologies and products. While BRIC’s overall mission is to generate “research that leads to value creation,” LAUNCH helps propel that research from the lab to meet the consumer demands of today’s marketplace. “The mission of LAUNCH is to enable accelerated, sustainable economic growth through the commercialization of innovation for constituents in the BRIC, the region and around the globe,” said Dr. Gregory Leman, director of LAUNCH. “We accelerate commercialization.” Leman adds that LAUNCH’s coached process is effective because it matches products with customer needs and helps firms develop strategic plans to respond to those needs. “We help companies tell the story of opportunity to various stakeholders in their own language and guide them in developing and/or acquiring the needed competencies for executing the plan,” he said. “Our role is to help researchers and entrepreneurs think about commercialization early in the process By Kat Nelson, Public Relations Specialist, Greater Waco Chamber so discovery and commercialization are developed hand-in-hand. We want to prepare them to have the work they are doing actually make a real-world, applied difference on top of the impact the knowledge itself has,” added Leman. LAUNCH offers a broad range of services to existing businesses as well as start-up tech companies, such as facilitating access to capital for new ventures (including the Baylor Angel Network), assisting with SBA loans and venture capital financing. Joining LAUNCH as initial occupants at the BRIC are Baylor research labs and centers and institutes, each of which brings a track record of successfully working with industry partners and national and international collaborators. Researchers and partners in these labs are producing world-class knowledge and advanced research in a variety of academic disciplines including math, physics, astronomy and engineering. The range of research topics includes advanced avionics, realtime data acquisition, circuit board prototyping, microwaves and circuits, medical instrumentation and wireless communication. Very soon, two well-established and highly regarded researchers who have been conducting collaborative research for decades will also move their labs to the BRIC. Dr. Lea Steele, an epidemiologist and research professor at Baylor’s Institute for Biomedical Studies and Dr. Marlan O. Scully, National Academy of Sciences member and distinguished research academician of science and engineering, will join the cadre of interdisciplinary researchers at the BRIC. Scully, known around the world for his ground-breaking work in quantum optics, conducts research with the potential for national and international impact in industry (optical storage, chip manufacturing, secure free-space wireless communications and solid-state devices), medicine (dermatology, keratectomy and early disease detection), air pollution, renewable energy efforts, active imaging, lightning discharge control and at-range detection of bio-chemical agents. Steele, along with an interdisciplinary team of regional and national collaborators, is conducting research to develop biomarkers for the enigmatic Gulf War illness, helping to improve the diagnosis and treatment of veterans who served during the early 1990s conflict in the Persian Gulf. Through a partnership with Texas State Technical College Waco (TSTC), the BRIC will also provide training for laboratory/industry technicians seeking highly technical jobs at the national laboratory level. The ability to have technology training occur alongside university researchers and industry partners will be made possible by the Baylor/TSTC Waco collaboration and will occur in the 45,000 square feet of BRIC space allocated to TSTC Waco. The availability of joint use equipment within the BRIC, such as Baylor’s scanning electron microscope suite, will enable further expansion of an already mature industry-university relationship with Baylor’s current aerospace partner L-3 Platform Integration. In addition, the BRIC also has 50,000 square feet of shell space available for industry partners who execute collaborative research agreements with a BRIC partner and symposium space that will be available later this year. Growth in BRIC interdisciplinary research and industry partnerships bode well for continued regional economic development as national and international industries become more aware of the unique capabilities resident at the BRIC.

“The mission of LAUNCH is to enable accelerated, sustainable economic growth through the commercialization of innovation for constituents in the BRIC, the region and around the globe,” said Dr. Gregory Leman, director of LAUNCH. “We accelerate commercialization.”


Baylor’s Entrepreneurship Program Ranked Third in the Nation by Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business was the highest ranked school in Texas.

The program is dedicated to the study, teaching and practice of new venture creation and development. It combines challenging instruction with active involvement in new and emerging ventures. Students acquire a practical, wellrounded knowledge that prepares them for the diverse demands of today’s competitive marketplace. The Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranking is based on student responses to questions asking them to rank their program’s entrepreneurship program. Points are awarded for each response and then averaged for each school. “This ranking recognizes the high value our students place on their Baylor education and the dedication of our faculty, staff and alumni,” said Dr. Terry S. Maness, D.B.A., dean of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. “Our students are gaining valuable experience in the classroom and in business leadership roles as they create and manage start-ups.” The Baylor entrepreneurship program is one of the oldest and most respected in the nation and continues to break new ground. Recently, Baylor entered into innovative agreements with the Greater Waco Chamber and the Town of Addison that benefit students in the Accelerated Ventures Program. Addison is providing free office space and ancillary support services for one year to graduates who complete the program. During that period, Addison also is providing business network support to aid the development of the new businesses. Baylor has also partnered with the Baylor’s Entrepreneurship Program Ranked Third in the Nation by Bloomberg BusinessWeek Greater Waco Chamber to launch thInc Space, a business incubator for creative start-ups that also will be the headquarters for the Accelerated Ventures Program. While enrolled in the two-semester program, students receive free office space from the Greater Waco Chamber. Upon completion of the program, they can continue to use the free space for one year while they expand their businesses. Students also have access to networking, mentoring and the support and professional expertise of the local business community. “The Accelerated Ventures Program is a excellent example of one of the many innovative ways that we teach our students the fundamental principles needed to become successful entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Kendall Artz, director of Baylor’s entrepreneurship program and chair of the department of management. “We are honored to be recognized by the Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranking.” This Bloomberg BusinessWeek student survey ranking follows the most recent Princeton Review ranking done for Entrepreneurship magazine in which the program is ranked No. 2.


Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit and follow on Twitter at Business.

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