Daily Archives: February 21, 2012

Anatomy of an elevator pitch to the NSF

Chart: "Anatomy of an Elevator Pitch"Last fall, the National Science Foundation introduced a new competition for its Engineering Research Centers:

“The ERC Elevator Pitch Competition was inaugurated as as a means to embed entrepreneurial thinking within the centers, a task that represents a cultural shift within academia, where startup activity is usually not part of the tenure process. The competition featured undergraduates, Masters students, PhDs and post-docs all competing for the Innovation Accelerator-sponsored $5,000 prize. Though the contestants were all technology students, they had to speak in business terms, some of them for the first time.”

The ERC for Revolutionizing Biometallic Materials, led by N.C. A&T, won the competition.  Da-Tren Chou, a PhD student in bioengineering from ERC partner the University of Pittsburgh, was the designated pitcher. Here are the details, as reported by the New Venturist website.

“The US needs more Da-Trens – researchers who cross the chasm from the lab to the marketplace by morphing basic research into products and services that can change the world.

An African leader’s “charm offensive” on AIDS

The New York Times profiles Michel Sidibé of Mali, head of the United Nations AIDS program, in its Profiles in Science feature:

“Mr. Sidibé, 59, is a former relief worker, rather than a physician, and, along with English and French, he speaks West African Mandingo, the Tamashek of the Tuaregs and other languages.

“With a combination of bonhomie and persistence, he has delivered difficult messages to African presidents very persuasively in his three years in office: Convince your men to get circumcised. Tell your teenage girls not to sleep with older men for money. Shelve your squeamishness and talk about condoms. Help prostitutes instead of jailing them. Ask your preachers to stop railing against homosexuals and order your police forces to stop beating them. Let Western scientists test new drugs and vaccines, despite the inevitable rumors that Africans are being used as guinea pigs.”