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THE MARKETPLACE CORNER
Mixing Business and Chemistry: Should I Consider a Professional Master's Degree?
By Molly B. Schmid, Keck Graduate Institute
Considering an MBA or PhD? Look again! There is a new option in graduate education that aims to meet the industry need for employees with scientific knowledge and business-oriented skills. Professional Science Master's (PSM) programs are emerging everywhere, and gaining popularity with both employers and students. In less than 15 years, 235 PSM programs have been created, and the numbers keep growing (www.sciencemasters.com).
PSM's confer a variety of two-year specialized master's degrees that directly prepare you to enter the workplace. The best of the programs have interdisciplinary faculty, a strong group of corporate advisors who influence the curriculum, internships to provide experience, and active career services programs.
Some PSM programs provide the knowledge and experience needed to enter into specialized fields with anticipated growth potential, while others aim to provide the bridge for technology-savvy individuals to enter into managerial positions in organizations that apply scientific knowledge to produce products or services.
You will almost certainly pay for this education, just as you would for a medical, law or MBA degree. Calculating whether a PSM is a good investment requires you to estimate how quickly the costs of the program will be repaid, so in evaluating specific programs be sure to investigate the post-degree career experiences of their graduates.
For those that are just graduating with their bachelor's degrees, or who are re-tooling mid-career, a PSM program is certainly an option to consider.
The National Professional Science Master's Association website has more information and links to specific PSM programs (http://www.npsma.org).
This view is brought to you by Dr. Molly B. Schmid, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences. Molly is currently a Professor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence where she teaches courses on entrepreneurship and the science and business aspects of drug discovery and development.
Email us your questions or tips from The Marketplace Corner that you would like us to cover in future issues.
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THE BUSINESS CORNER
Want to sell your Invention? The 7-Steps Guide to Becoming Innovator-Entrepreneur.
By Dan Daly, Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs Center.
There has been an increasing national awareness that the United States has an incredible rich supply of creative thinkers. Many of these creative thinkers are chemists. The pursuit of knowledge during a scientific investigation in a chemical experiment is essential unlimited. There are quantum mechanical calculations, synthetic procedures, structural identification and kinetic analysis. It only seems fair that someone else should worry about the applications. But who will do this? Who knows the fundamental of your experiments better than you? Who understands the beauty of the piece of nature that was discovered better than yourself? If you are at a university, you may have an enlightened technology transfer office, however most university technology transfer offices get embroiled in policy and are not staffed with people who know how to sell your inventions.
But fear not! The innovation-to-commercialization process can be divided into a few basic steps. Below are seven steps all scientists can follow to learn more about becoming an innovator-entrepreneur.
Each step is arranged so that the further along you go, the more resources are going to be required. Thus each step should tell you that this idea is still going to form a profitable and valid business.
1) Is being an Innovator-Entrepreneur my cup of tea?
Meet, talk, and learn from the many successful chemical entrepreneurs. It takes more than an innovation to make a successful business - consider what skills and support (family, friends) system you may need.
2) Evaluating your idea and your goals
This is where it starts and a lot of thought should go in to generating the best idea. You could use friends and instructors to have a free-flowing discussion. This meeting should generate several ideas which you could cluster and further refine.
3) Conduct Market Research and Patentability Opinion
This step requires searching patent and market databases. The patent searches are conducted with two separate goals. One is to do a patentability assessment and the second is a 'freedom to operate' assessment. The market research is to get as much detailed and specific information as possible.
4) Perform Feasibility Analysis and Pick your Industry
This step is a check to insure that the business you are proposing is sound. The four major feasibility analysis are: technical, financial, organizational and market. Also, you need to assess the industry you are preparing to enter.
5) Learn How to Sell
If you build it, will they come? An idea/product/service is only worth as much others are willing to pay. It is important to learn the different strategies to sell to scientists vs. non-scientists (customers, financiers, elected officials, etc.). Get to know how much they are willing to pay for your widgets.
6) Write Your Business Plan
Now is the time after passing all of the above tests to write your plan. The plan is intended for two main audiences: investors and your company employees. The plan should explain all of the fundamentals of your business from day to day operations to long term strategies for sustainability.
7) Raising Money and Finding the Right People
This is a very difficult step for a small start-up, since your company on paper may not be of a high value to investors. Governmental agencies are a great source, but they require time to get money. Also know that 'good money' is hard to get but is more valuable than 'fools money'. Your company will also need experienced business personnel to run your business. Where to find them and how to pay them are key stumbling blocks. Forming a strong network is extremely important. Selecting the right Angels or VCs will be critical to help you financially and to connect you with key contacts.
ACS Webinars has teamed up National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance / Venture Well, ACS Division of Business Development and Management, and ACS Women Chemists Committee to create ACS Webinars Chemical Entrepreneurship Series to help you along this path to selling your inventions. Learn more at http://acswebinars.org/chemicalentrepreneurship.
Connect with other entrepreneurs and innovators! Plan to attend the NORM 2011 Invention-2-Venture Workshop, June 27, 2011, Portland, Oregon.
This view is brought to you by Dr. Dan Daly, Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs. Dan has mentored many chemical entrepreneurs to be successful in their business endeavors.
Email us your questions or tips from The Business Corner that you would like us to cover in future issues.
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CONSULTING TIP OF THE MONTH
Who Owns the Intellectual Property Created by Consultants
By Peter D. Mlynek, Ph.D., M.B.A., Esq., Eckert Seamans LLC
New inventions conceived and reduced to practice by an employee generally belong to the employer if the invention is made within the scope of the employment. The employer obtains the ownership rights for the invention from the employee by an express agreement (generally signed by the employee at the start of the employment) that obligates to assign all inventions to the company, or there may be an implied assignment if the employee was hired to invent new products or processes.
With consultants things are different. Consultants are not employees, but are independent contractors. There is no automatic ownership of intellectual property rights by the company, even if the invention is made within the scope of an engagement. Most companies are well aware of this, and IP rights are clarified at the beginning of the engagement.
Consultants are thus naturally required by potential clients to sign Consultant Agreements that specify that the consultant assign the IP rights to the company prior to an engagement. It is however important for a consultant to realize that the rights to some inventions that result during the engagement may have little value to the Company, but have a tremendous value to the consultant. Assigning the rights to these inventions may thus not be in the consultant's best interest.
For example, a computer program, a computer system, glassware, instrument, etc. that is developed or improved by the consultant during an engagement to solve a specific crucial problem may be general enough that it could be used by the consultant in future engagements. The invention may be of limited interest to the company -- the company may view itself as in business in making new compounds or processes, not in protecting tangentially useful inventions.
Further, some thought should be given to ownership of newly invented products or processes that were rejected by the company for business reasons. The company would likely be interested in incorporating the rejected products and processes into a patent application as comparative examples, but would not be interested in patenting it. If the company discloses a new product in a patent application but does not claim it, the company essentially dedicates the rejections needlessly to the public.
Of course, negotiating IP ownership may be tough or impossible for a hungry consultant in a buyer's market. In such a case, the consultant will have to be satisfied with being named an inventor on a patent, even if the consultant is not the owner of the patent, and use the patent (or published patent application) as a marketing tool for further engagements.
More on consulting opportunities in patent law may be found here.
Before getting his law degree at Rutgers and becoming a patent attorney, Dr. Mlynek earned a Ph.D. in Organometallic Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, and was a development chemist in industry.
This short article provides general information and should not be relied on as a legal advice for your particular situation.
This monthly tip is brought to you in collaboration with the Chemical Consultants Network. Stay tuned for next month's tip on Strategic Alliances for Independent Consultants.
Have a comment? Go to Chemical Consultants Network LinkedIn Group.
Email us your consulting questions or tips you would like us to cover in future issues.
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|Upcoming ACS Webinars - May Lineup |
CLICK * WATCH * LEARN * DISCUSS
Learn more and register at www.acswebinars.org
Bringing You Four Delectable Channels in May 2011.
- Your Career GPS
- May 3, 2011 - Ten Commandments for Being a Successful Scientist.
- Professional Growth
- May 5, 2011 - Creative Problem Solving in Chemical Research.
- May 12, 2011 - Green Chemistry and Renewable Energy - Two Peas in a Pod.
- Business and Innovation
- May 19, 2011 - Turning on the Light Bulb - Idea generation and Idea Evaluation.
- Joy of Science
- May 24, 2011 - International Year of Chemistry 2011 - Materials and Health Community Engagement.
- May 26, 2011 - The Chemistry of Cheese and Why We Love it.
ACS Webinars connect you with subject matter experts and global thought leaders in chemical sciences, management, and business on relevant professional issues. More information and registration...
Have ideas? Email
us your suggestions for future ACS Webinars topics. Please include 'Webinar Topic Suggestion' in the subject line.
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|Can't attend the live ACS Webinars?
To access recordings of past ACS Webinars, please visit our on-demand content library
. Featured Archived Content:
Do you know that your mustache can affect your beer drinking pleasure? Before you shave it off, learn why and pick up other advanced chemistry insights. Watch at http://acswebinars.org/bamforth2011
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|ACS National Meeting Content is Now Available On-Demand|
Public access to the recorded presentations is available starting May 2, 2011 for the 241st ACS National Meeting in Anaheim, CA, March 27 - 31, 2011. Over 500 oral presentations from the meeting were recorded. The files feature audio and PowerPoint slides. The recorded sessions reflect the breadth of science available at ACS national meetings-including this meeting's thematic program of Chemistry of Natural Resources.
Access the recorded presentations...
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|The Chemist of Life and Death|
Did you know that Fritz Haber's work was used by the Nazis to create the gas used to murder millions in the Holocaust, including his relatives? Did you also know that perhaps two out of five humans on the planet today owe their existence because of his work? Learn about the amazing life of Fritz Haber.
Read the story or hear the recording...
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| Upcoming meetings that may be of interest to you:|
- July 18-20, 2011 - Organic Microelectronics & Optoelectronics Workshop VII, San Francisco, CA.
- June 19-22, 2011 - 85th ACS Colloid and Surfaces Symposium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
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- Jun 21-23, 2011 - 15th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference + 5th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Washington, DC.
Calling all Entrepreneurs!
From Invention to Venture (I2V): The Key Challenges Chemists Face in Entrepreneurship. June 28th, 2011. Fee $10
The American Chemical Society's Division of Business Development & Management (BMGT), the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) invite you to attend an afternoon workshop focused on the key challenges facing chemists as they start up new ventures or license or otherwise transfer technology. Sessions will include panel discussions and feature the opportunity for entrepreneurs to "speed pitch" to VIPs and speakers.
WHAT YOU WILL GAIN BY COMING? Skills, insights and networking! Whether it is building a venture team or raising financing, being an entrepreneur has its advantages - and its challenges. This workshop is designed to give chemists insights on the key issues for successful technology venturing and the practical skills and tactics to address the issues so they expertly navigate the commercial realm and build high-growth ventures and lifestyle businesses alike.
Networking and Speed Pitch session (optional) Have an idea? Have a venture? Have a pitch you want to try out? No better way than to try it out and get feedback from experts who hear it all the time! Advanced registration needed. First come/first served only for a 15 minute slot of time.
Register at: http://www.norm2011.org/workshops.html
|Want your events included in The Distillate and/or ACS Webinars webpage? Please email us your events info with the subject title EVENTS. |
|International Year of Chemistry 2011 Spotlight|
The Best Bloody Mary - Or International Mary?
Neil C. Da Costa, Ph.D., with International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., shared his tips on how to create the best Bloody Mary and international variations to the drink as a celebration of International Year of Chemistry 2011.
Read the press release (and tips)...
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Capture A Chemist - Well, Not Literally
Interested in photography? Capture a Chemist is a crowd-sourced project in conjunction with the International Year of Chemistry 2011 that brings the photographic and chemical communities together to share the stories of chemists across the world.
Learn more about Capture A Chemist...
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|Chemistry With A Hole - Bagel That Is. In last month's issue
, The Distillate brought you the story of a chemist turn soda-entrepreneur. This month, we feature a chemist turn bagel-entreprenuer. Did you know that it takes over fourteen hours to produce a bagel? Meet Kristen Shruber, a chemist who followed her dream and poured her chemistry knowledge into bagel making in Tennessee. Full article...Back to Top Page
|Too Many Ph.D.s? The Debate Continues. |
The Distillate's April 2011 poll on Is Chemistry Facing a glut of Ph.D.s? garnered a lot of responses. Nature News recently released their list of Ph.D.s by country comparison which showed China's 40% increase in doctoral degree output. C&EN Magazine article showed a rise in Chemistry doctoral degrees based on NSF and ACS surveys. How many is too many? The debate continues.
Read the Nature News article...
Read the C&EN Magazine article...
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|Science in the Entertainment Industry|
Interested in using your chemistry skill to advise the movie industry? Hear the interview with Donna Nelson, a volunteer adviser for the TV show 'Breaking Bad'.
Scientists interested in working with the entertainment industry can contact the Science & Entertainment Exchange. The Science & Entertainment Exchange is a program of the National Academy of Sciences that provides entertainment industry professionals with access to top scientists and engineers to help bring the reality of cutting-edge science to creative and engaging storylines.
Read the interview...
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|Win an ACS 'International Year of Chemistry 2011' lapel pin.
"What we do, if we are successful, is to stir interest in the matter at hand, awaken enthusiasm for it, arouse a curiosity, kindle a feeling, fire up the imagination." by ???
Send us your correct answer to win the lapel pin. Two winners will be selected for this popular pin. This month's inspirational quote was submitted by Samuel Foster from Ohio.
Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) your answer by May 16, 2011 to be entered into the drawing. Please use QUOTE for the subject line. The answer to the quote and the winners will be posted in next month's edition.
Congratulations to Janet Gamlin of Bayer, Germany and Paul Kiehne of Aveda, Minnesota. "The great tragedy of science, the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact." by Thomas Henry Huxley. Winners were randomly selected from all the correct entries received and will receive an ACS lapel pin. Thank you to all who entered the contest.
Have a quote to share? Send us (email@example.com) your favorite scientists' quotes and if we use your submission, we will send you a surprise prize.
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|Reach >100,000 scientific professionals. If you would like to submit an article, news, or upcoming events for next month's
newsletter, email us by 5:00 pm Eastern Time on the third Friday
of the month to firstname.lastname@example.org. Inclusion is subject to space and
editorial discretion. |