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By Liz Warren-Pederson

As part of their honors coursework, 28 undergraduates enrolled in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program are investigating the technology commercialization environment at the University of Arizona, within southern Arizona, and across the state.

The McGuire Center's Matt Mars oversees honors students' work in the Dean's Open Innovation Challenge.

The McGuire Center’s Matt Mars oversees honors students’ work in the Dean’s Open Innovation Challenge.

The Dean’s Open Innovation Challenge tasks eight teams of honors students with gathering and analyzing data that may contribute to the success of the new Tech Launch Arizona initiative UA announced in 2011.

The teams have been assigned to study to three different groups:

  • Firms that successfully launched
  • Firms that tried to launch and failed
  • UA technologies that are protected, but not yet licensed out in the private market

“They’ll be talking to scientists, to the Office of Technology Transfer, to members of the investment community, and other stakeholders,” explained Matt Mars, who oversees the honors students’ projects. “Through these interactions, they will be assessing the entrepreneurial climate at the University, but also more broadly.”

techWhile the students are likely to uncover many different reasons for success or failure of a specific university technology patent — from ability to clear regulatory hurdles to market readiness — Mars hopes they will also be able to tease out themes that capture the strengths and weaknesses of the UA’s overall entrepreneurial environment and provide insights that will benefit Tech Launch Arizona.

Students will present their findings to representatives of Tech Launch Arizona and the southern Arizona entrepreneurial community at the McGuire Program’s April 27 year-end showcase.

Learn more about the McGuire Center student experience at