With the support of a two-year grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), the Case School of Engineering, Weatherhead School of Management and Great Lakes Energy Institute (GLEI) have begun an interdisciplinary pilot graduate-level course on energy and entrepreneurship.
The course—”Energy, Engineering & Entrepreneurship”—is designed to encourage technical innovation in advanced energy.
Course and program grants are awarded to NCIIA-member institutions to strengthen existing programs or build new ones. Students will be grouped into what the NCIIA refers to as “E-Teams” to achieve energy-related technology, invention or innovation capable of attracting post-NCIIA-funding. The goal is for the students to eventually pitch their energy business concepts to investors.
The lead instructor is Alexis Abramson, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University. She is well known for nanotechnology research. She was recently appointed as faculty director of GLEI.
She is joined by Michael Goldberg, visiting assistant professor of Design & Innovation at the Weatherhead School and an expert in global entrepreneurship. GLEI Commercialization Project Manager Mindy Baierl is also assisting with the course.
“The most interesting piece of this class is the intersection of engineering, entrepreneurship and energy, because energy is so important to our society,” Abramson said. “Energy is the foundation for a strong economy, and we really need more innovation in energy to propel our world forward to sustainable solutions.”
“At this university, we always have many students who are interested in starting companies, whether they are engineering students or management students,” Goldberg said. “There’s a lot of excitement at Weatherhead to try to do more interdisciplinary courses like this.”
GLEI, created in 2008, supports faculty at Case Western Reserve by helping to secure funding for their advanced energy research. The new class is part of the GLEI academic mission, according to GLEI Executive Director Dianne Anderson, who held executive and managerial positions at British Petroleum from 1983 to 2008 and was the first guest lecturer for the class.