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Posted on Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

U-M Medical Innovation Center managing director Scott Olson on the 'natural messiness' of discovery

By Sven Gustafson

The University of Michigan has enormous potential and financial backing to develop potentially life-saving medical innovations, but the support network for entrepreneurs is still being built, the managing director of U-M's Medical Innovation Center tells Research Corridor in a Q&A interview.

Scott Olson, the center's managing director since August 2011, has been a founder or executive of eight startups and worked at Ann Arbor SPARK advising entrepreneurs and overseeing the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.

He says the center is focused on heightening the visibility of individual research projects under way at the university and pairing them with efforts going on at other universities or research facilities in the region, even across disciplines. Olson says the power of cross-disciplinary teams "is higher than any individual, even a skilled innovator, working by him or herself."

"In general, there's more and more awareness across campus of the importance of entrepreneurship, and innovation," Olson told Research Corridor, an online newsletter of the University Research Corridor. "We have a lot of student traction and student attention, especially among undergrads. It's not as clear with graduate students, research and doctoral students, and faculty members: What is that interest in innovation going to look like three years from now? What is clear is we're bringing together teams across campus to understand what each other is doing and to begin to plan for the next few years."

For more, read the Olson Q&A.

Comments

Greg

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Sounds great, now how about the U does something radical and cut the costs for what most of the taxpayers consider its main mission of educating the states peoples. The University's managers talk loud and long about how there are grants and loans and more for students. However, every news source I know of keeps reporting that the students are graduating with more and more massive debt. Somebody is blowing smoke badly.