A multidisciplinary team in the College of Science at Oregon State University has been awarded a $500K grant to implement a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship in Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE). The innovative educational platform—“Research to Innovation to Society”—seeks to develop STEM professionals with the research and leadership skills while cultivating their passion and acumen to innovate.
Specifically, this National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) will pilot and test Lens of the Market® (LoM), a team-based, experiential curriculum at OSU that guides basic scientific research to address market needs and provides students with professional skill development and practice. LoM has been highly successful at OSU’s Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry and will now be scaled across the university.
As the global landscape changes, innovation is becoming a fundamental prerequisite for sustainability that not only embraces the discovery of new ideas, but also the implementation of practical solutions that address societal problems and market demands. The NRT IGE program will address this shifting global landscape by training STEM professionals with the skills to conduct a market validation informed by research while honing their leadership skills. The result will be a winning package of valuable market developers and analysts who are also scientific leaders.
Chemistry Department Head Rich Carter (PI) will lead the NRT IGE project in collaboration with co-PIs Judy Giordan, Professor of Practice in Chemistry; Michelle Dolgos, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Lens of the Market® developer; and Martin Storksdieck, Director of OSU’s Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning.
The investigators will use learning outcomes and evaluation data to determine if this transformative curriculum develops researchers with the desired attributes to contribute to the national STEM agenda. If successful, the pilot program will lay the foundation for institutionalizing this team-based, experiential approach as a new option that can be widely adopted by graduate STEM degree programs across the nation.
“I am thrilled that the NRT IGE program will benefit STEM graduate students at Oregon State,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science at OSU. “This training creates a unique advantage for our students."
“They will be transformed from excellent scientists to innovative leaders with the entrepreneurial skills to bring their research to market for a healthy people and a healthy planet. It will help us build leaders in science.”
Carter and his team developed the educational platform, “Research to Innovation to Society,” based on Lens of the Market® (LoM). LoM, a national program developed and designed by co-PI Giordan, is copyrighted by the innovation training organization ecosVC. The program helps STEM graduate students develop the skills to direct their research to technologies with business application.