Benefits of Sponsoring

Why Fund the I2P® Global Competition?

When you participate in Idea to Product® Global Competition by contributing, you can:

  • Make contact with potential employees with technical and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Find out about potential investment and partnering opportunities among the I2P® teams.
  • Impact technology commercialization education around the world.
  • Keep informed of the latest technologies emerging from leading universities.
  • Promote a culture of technology commercialization.
  • Gain new clients from among the teams that plan to take their products to market.
  • Align your company, brand and/or yourself with innovation


Please join us by participating as an I2P® Competition donor. Funds will support planning and operating the competitions, the cash prizes and trophies, hotel rooms for the international participants, dinners and other networking opportunities, the website, printed material, and other costs directly associated with the competition such as facilities. Our judges are donating their time and expertise.

The innovative transfer of a new technology from lab to market is the key to realizing the societal impact from university research. A concrete example of the societal impact of the innovation process is the economic effect on the community around a university. This is evidenced in the high-technology regions of Kista (Stockholm), Öresund, Grenoble, Silicon Valley, Massachusetts Route 128, the North Carolina Research Triangle as well as the home of UT (Austin, Texas). Innovation creates new wealth, builds strong local, regional and national economies, and improves the national well-being.

“While the prior centuries were dominated by nations with superior industrial or agricultural capabilities, the Information Age is going to reward new competencies and strengths. Innovative capacity is now clearly the key driver of future national prosperity.” Wang M, et al. Rand, 2003

The Murchison Chair of Free Enterprise was established with a mission to create and nurture a culture of technology innovation, creativity, leadership and enterprise at UT-Austin and the global community that we serve. Dr. Steven Nichols has been the Director of the Chair since 2001. The Chair’s efforts to promote technology entrepreneurship have been recognized nationally, most recently by Dr. Nichols’s receipt of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance Olympus Award for innovation education. The centerpiece of these efforts is the Idea to Product® (I2P®) Program.

“Nichols’ innovative interdisciplinary education, research, and service programs have not only expanded opportunities for student entrepreneurship, but also stimulated the formation of numerous start-up companies based on university-developed technology.” NCIIA, March 2005

The I2P® Program promotes a culture of technology innovation and entrepreneurship through technology commercialization competitions. The program provides a range of pathways for innovation including exposing university technologies to outside investors, aiding university technology spin-offs, and educating students about the innovation process. This last pathway is crucial, given that graduating students are the principal means of knowledge transfer from the university. The I2P® Competitions give students hands-on innovation experience, along with mentoring and feedback from experienced entrepreneurs on the UT-Austin faculty and from industry.

Using I2P® as a tool for technology commercialization education improves the workplace-readiness of students, increases the impact of research on socially relevant problems, and ultimately expands the overall influence of the university in terms of research, education, and public service.

Over 200 student teams have entered the competition at University of Texas alone—representing the colleges of engineering, natural science, business, law, and liberal arts—since the advent of the I2P® UT Austin Competition in 2001. The Chair also organizes and hosts the annual I2P® International Competition, where teams from 15-20 universities from Asia, Europe, and North America compete. This multi-disciplinary and international interaction helps provide the broad education that potential employers expect from graduates today.

The I2P® Competitions provide the opportunity analysis and technology screening that is required to move an idea to market. This early stage due diligence plus the entrepreneurial network provided by the program equals an increased probability of success of new technology products. Based on the work done by student teams, university patenting efforts for certain technologies have been stepped-up, university technologies have been licensed, and new companies have been formed.

“The moment I decided to participate in the I2P® competition, I began to add value to an emerging technology, and with the mentorship and connections that are a part of the competition, I became an entrepreneur. In fact, as a direct result of participating my partner and I went on to found two angel-backed start-up companies." Scott Evans, 2003 I2P® UT Austin Competitor

The I2P® Program has had demonstrable success in educating students about technology commercialization by having them participate in the process. However, the establishment of a solid infrastructure to support this innovation activity is in its infancy.

The future success of the I2P® Program rests on formalizing the innovation network that connects students and researchers to resources such as entrepreneurial and technical mentors, legal council, and possible funding sources. Solidifying this infrastructure is our next goal, and the generous contributions of our supporters will help us achieve it.

Please join us by participating as an I2P® Competition donor. Funds will support planning and operating the competitions, the workshops and other resources provided to the teams, and the assistance that the program provides to participants after the competition.











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© 2013 I2P & Chair of Free Enterprise.