Category: Digital Technology Sector

SMG Launches Digital Learning Studio

April 5th, 2012 in Academic Departments, Dean Freeman, Digital Technology Sector, Faculty, News, School, Strategy & Innovation

New Classroom Empowers New Learning Styles

Students at work in Room 326

Students at work in Room 326

On a recent morning in the new Digital Learning Studio (DLS), graduate students and tech supporters were clicking mice and dragging files onto big LCD screens when they got a blast from the pedagogical past.

As they peered at 42-inch screens on their “team walls,” another frame popped up on their screens. In it was a lecturing professor pointing to numbers on an overhead projector. Everyone stared for a minute, like aerospace workers eyeing a horse-drawn carriage. Strategy and Innovation Professor Venkat Venkatraman quickly realized the overhead projector was on a live feed from an SMG auditorium.

“That’s exactly what we’re trying to retire,” quipped Venkatraman, David J. McGrath, Jr. Professor in Management: “four hundred students in a dark room listening to a lecture.”

The Digital Learning Studio, which went online January 17, has put the School of Management and BU at the forefront of the high-tech learning revolution with an array of hardware and software configured to stimulate collaboration and engage learners. Room 326 is “where management education is heading,” said Dean Kenneth Freeman. “Less lecturing, more doing.”

After 70 years of business school education in the traditional amphitheater style classroom “it’s time for a change,” Dean Ken Freeman said. “Digital technology enables us to move from historical case studies developed over a period of months or even several years to real-time experiences, engaging CEOs and other leaders in companies from around the world on current issues, in the classroom, and enabling our students to address today’s problems in small groups.”

According to Venkatraman, the faculty member who has spearheaded the creation of the DLS, a number of factors, including the accelerated move by for-profit universities toward web-based learning, affect business management schooling.

Not “online” for its own sake

He said, “We must innovate not by delivering the same model of online education but by blending individual learning through rich-media lectures and interactions in classrooms through debates, dialogues, and conversations with industry executives that deepen and broaden the education and development of insights.”

True to the tradition of a strong focus on fundamentals, the core curriculum and first year courses are still going to be taught the current way, Venkatraman assures. “What happens in a first-year class doesn’t change,” he said. But more advanced undergraduate course and many graduate classes, particularly in digital technology, will take advantage of the bells and whistles in Room 326 and others. Venkatraman said, “We’re bringing current relevant cases and executives right into the class.”

Indeed just two days before the overhead projector feed interrupted his class, Venkatraman presided over a starkly different learning experience in a graduate level class in which he hosted videoconference “visits” from a cloud computing expert in Massachusetts and a digital innovation expert from Volkswagen in the Midwest. The students in the class were divided into teams representing the interests of Microsoft and Google teams to tackle a real-life problem. They then got feedback from the industry executives who wanted to test the problem on people who were not already steeped in the Google and Microsoft cultures to see if they would reach different conclusions than those inside the companies.

“The value is to create something together or to solve a problem for a company in real time,” said Venkatraman.

Eric Whitney (MS•MBA’12) said the class that was tele-visited by the executives was more intense than a typical visiting lecture class.

“You’re getting the perspective that’s happening right now,” he said, rather than working on a settled case might be two years old or older. “Some of us had only gotten through a draft version of a presentation,” Whitney said. “Then the Volkswagen exec came in and gave feedback on a project that was continuing on.”

And the executives were pleased with the student’s insights. Erica Hansen (MS•MBA’12) said, “They were interested in how someone outside the industry looks at the opportunities, and we validated input they were getting.”

The bonus of the learning studio is that executives from elsewhere in the country or around the globe can take an hour or less out of their schedule to drop by the class virtually rather than take a minimum of a half day to attend in person.

Easier access for executives

An executive from Ericsson, the Swedish communications company that sponsors the International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition at SMG, was on hand when Whitney and Hansen were running the software through its paces. He marveled at what he saw.

“It’s pretty exciting to see this,” said Ericsson’s Steve Newman. “This is the beginning of something really important.”

The DLS has rolled out with both excitement and no small amount of consternation. The contractors turned over the to SMG on Jan. 13, 2012 and just four days later the first class was held at 8 a.m. There was little time for faculty to learn how to adapt their curriculum, said Greg DeFronzo, SMG’s information technology services director. During the initial phase, DeFronzo has assigned either a member of his staff or a student employee to operate the equipment, troubleshoot at each class, and work out glitches and software bugs on a minute-to minute basis.

The classroom was built from bare walls to a $1 million technological marvel over the Christmas break. Its early success, by many accounts, is due to a tremendous amount of teamwork and flexibility among the faculty, ITS staff, and student ITS employees.

What makes the DLS the innovation leader is not a single technology or feature but the configuration and combination of software, facilities and design, said DeFronzo. The SMG team looked at what was being done at other management schools such as the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke, and the Sloan School of Management at MIT, cherry-picking features that are promising now and also will grow as technology changes, DeFronzo explained. See the sidebar How We Did It for technical details.

Let the experiments begin

Some classes try out different applications including Prezi, cloud-based storytelling software, said Margaret Costello (BSBA’12), who has been doing tech support in the DLS.

The technology is just one piece of the equation. The other side is what to do with it. Faculty members, some of whom have been assigned to the room simply because classroom space is scarce, have had to adapt their lessons to an utterly different teaching environment.

“It’s a different mode of teaching,” said Finance Lecturer Keith Osher, who says he’s not all that tech-savvy but has overhauled his Modeling Business Decisions and Market Outcomes class to fit the room.

“The classroom is for collaborative learning. It’s learning much more by doing than by listening to someone in the front of the room,” Osher said.

In contrast to most statistics classes, students in Osher’s class work solve Excel problems by collaborating on which formulas they need and what the data means, according to a class blog. For instance, students in recent classes have taken data from Boston Scientific and created histograms and regression tables with one another.

“Mr. Osher has grasped a great way to have students be more interactive in the class,” said Sean Flaherty (BSBA’13), an ITS student employee doing faculty support.

It’s not easy to adjust to a classroom where there is no lectern and students are facing in opposite directions around long tables. That’s where Jeanne Myers, an educational technologist working on her PhD in education, comes in. She has been helping faculty members assigned to teach in Room 326 adapt their lessons to exploit the potential of the studio.

“It’s a matter of working with faculty to brainstorm and to engage the students as active partners,” she said. “Most of the faculty members are used to delivering lectures through Powerpoint, but that dynamic changes too through the use of multiple screens,” Myers said. “They have to think about how to best use the time they are in that room.”

Teaching the faculty too

Myers has hosted faculty group meetings to share best practices as well as glitches and lessons learned. She has shared an extensive list of ways to adapt traditional learning approaches to the innovation studio, including problem-based or project learning and tournament learning or a competition of ideas. There are several ways to divide a project among several groups of students to solve a piece of it and then send a “teacher” from their team to share the team’s findings as the rest of the class views their slide on the main screen at the front of the room. This generation is so visually driven, Myers said, that the students catch on quickly and adapt to new ways of learning with technology.

The room design allows for students to see multiple versions or multiple parts of a larger whole, Myers explained. The approach is designed to help students connect the segments. “The real bang for your buck is in the preparation phase. What can you do prior to class in order to use the time in the lab wisely?”

Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation Jeffrey Furman, whose undergraduate honors class meets in the room, said he is excited about its potential.

“Instead of operating as the conductor of an orchestra you have to be more of a juggler and the manager of a three-ring circus.” He knows he has work to do to exploit its potential as a complement to the old-fashioned setup. ” I have to go back to the drawing board to learn how to teach in the room. I can see how it can increase the value of all my classes.”

Faculty members have been gung-ho about reworking lectures but even the classroom design and implementation team has been surprised by what the learning studio has to offer. And now professors who were alone in a room with the students are having all sorts of company with IT staffers and students on hand.

Innovating on the fly

Steve X. Chen (BSBA’12) has been involved in the classroom early on and is now taking a course in the room as well. “I’ve been involved in the design, implementation, training, and troubleshooting–the latter is the longest phase of all,” he said with a grin. At the end of each class, Chen or one of his student IT employee brethren saves the lecture and all the high-tech components into something akin to an iBook that is made available to the whole class for downloading.

Even as the rollout continues, student employees Chen, Jamison Kissh (BSBA’13), and Kenny Sun (BSBA’12) are brainstorming about what’s next. One night recently, they contacted DeFronzo with an idea: Using Wii technology, they could create virtual smart board on any wall, no board required. DeFronzo greenlighted the trio to go to Best Buy to pick up the components they needed to test out their idea.

“By 8:30 p.m. they had a prototype to set up in rooms with no LCD screens, such as teamrooms or potentially capture notes written on a traditional chalkboard” DeFronzo said.

Where the learning studio goes from here is still being fleshed out.

In the short term, Venkatraman said, “I see it beginning in the digital technology sector curriculum and adapted over time for the health care and energy sectors. The philosophy is that the classroom becomes a welcoming place for debate and dialogue that builds off material that the students have mastered through readings, videos, and other interactive materials.”

By Judy Rakowsky

Adapting Curriculum to the Digital Classroom

April 3rd, 2012 in Digital Technology Sector, News, School, Students

New digital learning studio reshapes teaching and learning

A team of students at work in the studio

A team of students at work in the studio

There was no slipping into the back of the room—everyone in Lecturer Greg Collier’s class on a recent afternoon was on the hot seat.

“Each of you will do a piece of the consulting project for The Body Shop, dealing with broad and narrow markets and core competencies,” Collier told his Strategy and Innovation SI 422 class in the new digital learning studio Room 326.

Collier had to change his lesson plan completely from the regular lecture he used just that morning in another classroom. First they all watched a video interview with The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick holding forth on her legendary environmental and feminist activism on the 84-inch screen in the front of the room as well as on the 40-inch LCD screens on the wall over each of the six long tables where the students sat.

After that, Collier sent different slides from his PowerPoint presentation to the LCD screen over each table, requiring the team to flesh out factors in the Body Shop’s marketing strategy. That’s when the decibel level in the room shot up as the students brainstormed and debated the answers, which one team member typed up using the keyboard on each table.

Collier made the rounds, urging one team to consider that “natural products weren’t around in 1980 like they are today,” and another to think about the expenditures that other cosmetic companies were making on packaging and advertising that The Body Shop eschewed.

After 15 minutes, the class came back together. Margaret Costello (BSBA’12), a senior accounting concentrator, was the student-tech supporter for the class, and she guided each team in the use of Tidebreak software to push their slide onto the big screen. The entire class was then able to see each team’s work when its representative gave a presentation describing The Body Shop’s resources, core competencies, capabilities, and industry positioning.

Collier highlighted points in each group’s answers and reinforced the lessons learned. The Body Shop is failing in the United States, he said, because it didn’t have the core competencies to continue to grow, particularly after the death of Roddick in 2007. L’Oreal has since bought the company.

Then Collier had another surprise that kept the class sizzling: “OK, save your file, close out of PowerPoint, and go to tests and quizzes. What did we learn?” Collier asked. For the first team to finish the quiz with all the right answers he offered a gift card for the Belgian-style pommes frites shop Saus, near Faneuil Hall.

Again, the students were abuzz, racing to finish. A table in the back was first—finishing within 18 seconds. The other teams followed quickly on their heels. Then a teaching assistant went around the room with a laptop checking everyone’s work. Alas, no one aced the quiz—so no free pommes frites.

Room 326 photo 4

But the class was a success, several students said. “It was very different,” said Ken He (BSBA’12). “I liked that everyone was involved. It’s much more interactive.” Shawn Zhu (BSBA’12), said, “I liked it, but it can be distracting when you face more than one screen. And I don’t like that some chairs face the back of the room.” Greg DeFronzo, SMG’s information technology services director, was on hand to hear the critique, which helps the design and support team determine the tweaks that need to be made.

Costello said she still got more out of it than when she took the class a previous semester. “When we had our team project we hadn’t seen an entire consulting project from beginning to end like they did here in one class. Now they’ll know how to approach their class project.”

Collier said that in a regular lecture it’s difficult to get everyone to contribute no matter how much cold-calling he does, and even then the students can’t all get immediate feedback on their work.

With the interactive exercises, he said, “We make much swifter progress getting to the ‘aha’ moment.’’

“This class has been notorious for not engaging, but today the energy really got flowing,” Collier said.

By Judy Rakowsky

Technology and business join forces for education at BU case competition sponsored by Ericsson

April 2nd, 2012 in Case Competition, Digital Technology Sector, News, Press Release, School

  • 64 students from 16 schools in 24-hour, Boston University School of Management’s 2012 International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition
  • Students tackle how to improve access to education in a Networked Society
  • Top prize won for leading strategy aimed at creating value in a Networked Society through education and expertise

Boston University School of Management and Ericsson have announced that a team of MBA students from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has won first place in the seventh annual International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition. The invitation-only, 24-hour competition, worth $47,500 in prizes, challenges business students to help solve real issues that face global technology leaders. The event took place at Boston University School of Management on March 29-31, 2012. This is the fifth consecutive year that Ericsson has sponsored the competition.

This year’s competition focused on the role a Networked Society could play in innovating education. Each team was asked how Ericsson could develop successful business models that will create value for the world in a Networked Society through education and the sharing and combining of expertise.

The team from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill was awarded the top prize of ,000.

The team from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill was awarded the top prize of $25,000. Pictured, from left to right: Todd Valentine, Case Competition Committee Chair; Maciej Dudek, Rohan Vaidyanathan, Christophe Renaud, and Jae Lee, the winning students from Kenan-Flagler; Boston University School of Management Dean Kenneth Freeman; and Helena Norrman, Senior Vice President and Head of Communications, Ericsson.

The team from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill was awarded the top prize of $25,000. Team members included Jae Lee, Rohan Vaidyanathan, Christophe Renaud, and Maciej Dudek. The winning team took a holistic, two-pronged approach to closing the gaps in communication and access to information with their “Education Technology Platform” (ETP).

The remaining top four schools include Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in second place, Duke University in third place, and University of Southern California in fourth place.

“Ericsson believes that the Networked Society is not just about connecting devices, it’s about the power that is unleashed when everything is connected,” said Helena Norrman, Senior Vice President and Head of Communications, Ericsson, who was on hand to deliver the award. “At the core of this transformation is education, which can now be offered to people everywhere, regardless of social or geographical boundaries. The development of human potential within society as well as inside enterprises will change the world for the better. It was fantastic to take part in the thoughts, insights and ideas on the topic that the students brought into the final round,” she added.

John Chalykoff, Associate Dean at Boston University School of Management, said: “The competition brings together the world’s most respected IT-oriented MBA programs and creates an enthusiastic experience while advancing innovative ideas about real-world business issues, and nothing is more ripe for transformation than education.”

According to this year’s case author and Boston University School of Management Professor N Venkatraman, one of the most important challenges of the case was the need to devise a business strategy that would remove the physical limitations that often accompany education, and develop ideas to digitally spread educational opportunities to all members of society. “I believe that this year’s competition raised issues that are relevant and timely, not only for Ericsson as it delivers products and services for the networked society, but also for Boston University School of Management as we embrace and examine how technology influences the way we deliver management education.”

Schools competing in this year’s event included:

  • Boston University School of Management
  • Eller College of Management – University of Arizona
  • Fuqua School of Business – Duke University
  • Haas School of Business – UC Berkeley
  • Harvard Business School – Harvard University
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • IESE Business School – University of Navarra, Spain
  • IPADE Business School – Universidad Panamericana, Mexico
  • Kenan-Flagler Business School – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
  • McCombs School of Business – University of Texas, Austin
  • Queen’s School of Business, Canada
  • Richard Ivey School of Business – University of Western Ontario, Canada
  • Saïd Business School – University of Oxford, UK
  • Seoul National University, Korea
  • Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth


Media Contact:
Adriane Dean
Marketing & Communications Manager
Boston University School of Management
Direct: 617-358-0234

Executive MBA Creates iPad App

March 30th, 2012 in Academic Programs, Digital Technology Sector, EMBA, News, Press Release, School

Custom App Eases Access to Multiple Materials

BU EMBA iPad App

The Boston University Executive MBA Program (EMBA) has released its first custom iPad application to provide current and prospective students with enhanced access to information and tools. The EMBA Program has continued to evolve its digital strategy first by including all course material on the iPad (beginning two years ago), then offered access to e-textbooks as well as tools for editing and note-taking, and more recently to support the curriculum in the classroom. All students are provided an iPad as part of their tuition when they begin the program.

Students who travel frequently have found the iPad to be a major step forward in simplifying convenient access to information. “My iPad gives me access to everything I need to complete my assignments wherever I am: books, assignments, email, WebEx,” says Peter Spiess (EMBA’12). “Given the workload of the EMBA program, it’s important to use every spare minute effectively and having an iPad allows me to do just that.”

The BU EMBA app contains information that prospective students will find helpful including easy access to faculty profiles, information session registration dates and sign up forms, alumni videos, current blogs, and social media sites. Existing students will be able to directly link to a student portal and access a variety of digital tools provided to enhance the EMBA student experience.

Specifically, the application brings together all the EMBA resources in one place.

Features for prospects:

  • Access to faculty and staff profiles & contact info
  • Ability to watch all the EMBA videos
  • Direct to the contact/registration form on the EMBA microsite to request info, register for sessions, download brochure
  • Link to EMBA LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blog

Features for both prospects and current students:

  • Easy access to the School of management calendar and university calendar
  • List of recommended iPad apps helpful to the EMBA experience

Features specific for students:

  • Student Portal featuring the class schedule, links to SMG Tools, Sharepoint, WebEx (used for team meetings) and the current EMBA eNews letter

The application is available in the iTunes App Store by searching “BU EMBA.”

For more information on the Boston University EMBA iPad application, please contact Janice Dolnick at 617 353-7087 or

2012 Boston University Tech Strategy Business Case Competition

March 15th, 2012 in Case Competition, Digital Technology Sector, MBA, MS·MBA, News, School, Sectors

BU Again Hosts 16 MBA Teams in Seventh Annual Event

2012 Ericsson Case Competition

Seven years ago, Associate Dean John Chalykoff initiated a unique business case competition at Boston University based on the strategic application of IT principles. It has grown to be a signature School of Management event.

The International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition invites 15 teams representing top business schools from all over the world to join host BU. (This year that list includes Harvard, Oxford, and Duke, as well as schools from Hong Kong, Spain, Mexico, and South Korea.) It allows students to not only compete for a $25,000 first prize, but also put their knowledge on display in front of several major players in the fields of IT and telecommunications.

The seventh annual competition is scheduled for March 29-31, 2012.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase the best students in the world around IT strategy,” Chalykoff said. “The stature of the competition has grown to the point where we now have several universities on the waiting list wanting to get in.”

In order to select its own team for the big event, BU holds an internal tournament consisting of at least 12 teams every January. Alumni, faculty, and a venture capitalist serve as judges. The 2012 BU team is John Bry, Mikhail Gurevich, Kevin Harder, and Mike Rabinovich.

This year, the 16 teams will be presented with a case on the morning of Friday, March 30. They will then have 24 sleepless hours to compile their data, construct their argument, and prepare their most effective presentation for the judges. Last year’s case was centered on the question, “How should Ericsson shape the future of the health care and energy sectors?” It was won by the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business.

Todd Valentine (MS•MBA’12), an SMG student with a strategy and innovation concentration, is serving as committee chair for this year’s event. He believes one of the main benefits of the competition has been its fostering of a healthy relationship between BU and Ericsson—this will be the company’s fifth straight year as the event’s presenting sponsor.

“Without Ericsson the competition wouldn’t be possible,” Valentine said. “Last year the company’s CEO, Hans Vestberg, attended and will be attending again this year. This event really gives interested students a lot of exposure to Ericsson and the other way around. It allows the company to cherry-pick the best and the brightest.”

For last year’s contest, several executives from Ericsson traveled to Boston to immerse themselves in an intensive executive education course at BU. They then participated in a collaborative mini-case where the student teams were broken up and randomly reconstructed to include Ericsson’s executives. “People made some strong connections during that collaboration,” Valentine said. “The networking part of it is a pretty large draw.”

“The competition leads to school spirit, students working with executives, and a chance to interact with students from different schools. It brings together the world’s most respected IT-oriented MBA programs and creates an enthusiastic experience while advancing innovative ideas about real-world business issues,” says Chalykoff.

by Michael Pina

Why Is the U.S. Losing the Green Race?

October 21st, 2011 in Digital Technology Sector, Energy & Environment Sector, Faculty, News, Sectors, Social Impact


Nalin Kulatilaka, finance professor and co-director of the Clean Energy Initiative at Boston University, joins the discussion in the New York Times Room for Debate series.

According to Professor Nalin Kulatilaka, a smart grid is crucial.

“Americans pride themselves on being global leaders in innovation. So why is the nation lagging behind China and Germany on renewable energy?

The failure of clean energy efforts in the U.S. comes not from a lack of technology innovations, but from the lack of their widespread adoption. Rather than singling out specific companies or industries, our clean energy efforts should focus on building a smarter electricity system, one in which consumers and producers base their decisions on timely information that reflect true costs. Such a system will accelerate the adoption of clean energy by bridging information gaps that are dissuading investments and inhibiting energy-saving behavior.

“Once businesses and individuals can see what drives up their electric bills, a wide range of new energy business models will emerge.”

Once businesses and individuals can see what drives up their electric bills, a wide range of new energy business models will emerge.

The sources of generating electricity, hence the environmental impact and costs, change often and unpredictably. In the current system this is opaque to retail users. By making prices readily visible, smart electricity systems will reduce energy use. In fact, some European countries already have appliances that receive pricing information from the grid and are programmed to run during cheaper times. Having a smart grid is also essential in integrating renewable sources of energy like solar and wind by better managing their intermittent availability. Such a system is also imperative for the electrification of the transportation sector that needs to coordinate charging batteries with availability of cheap and clean sources of power. Because electricity and the transportation sector currently consume two-thirds of our fossil fuel use, these changes would have an enormous impact.

With the smart electricity infrastructure in place, a wide range of new energy business models will emerge. For example, the new information will enable cheaper and better audits of buildings’ energy use, which would help to tailor efficiency improvements.

As with the highway system, by investing public resources on a smart electricity infrastructure, we can create a truly transformative environment in complementary sectors and can take the U.S. to a leadership position in clean energy.”

Once businesses and individuals can see what drives up their electric bills, a wide range of new energy business models will emerge.

New Research Uncovers Crucial Role of Public-Sector Research in Drug Discovery

July 27th, 2011 in Digital Technology Sector, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Health Sector, Social Impact, Strategy & Innovation

Ashley Stevens

Ashley Stevens

New work from Boston University School of Management’s Ashley J. Stevens, D.Phil, co-authored by colleagues from across the University and the National Institutes of Health, has illuminated how public-sector research has had a more profound effect on improving public health than previously realized, most notably in the realm of drug discovery.
Stevens is a lecturer and Senior Research Associate at the School’s Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC), as well as Special Assistant to the Vice President for Research at Boston University.

His article “The Role of Public-Sector Research in the Discovery of Drugs and Vaccines”* appeared recently in The New England Journal of Medicine and was co-authored by Jonathan J. Jensen (Boston University School of Management alumnus), Katrine Wyller (previous School of Management Technology Transfer Fellow), Patrick C. Kilgore,  Sabarni Chatterjee, and Mark L. Rohrbaugh (National Institutes of Health).

153 new FDA-approved drugs, vaccines, or indications for existing drugs were discovered by PSRIs (four of which can be credited to current or former Boston University researchers).

Bayh-Dole and the Federal Technology Transfer Act

Stevens and his colleagues traced the impact on public health of two U.S. laws: the Bayh–Dole Act of 1980, allowing universities, nonprofit research institutes, and teaching hospitals to own the intellectual property resulting from federally funded research and  license it according to terms of their choosing; and the Stevenson–Wydler Technology Innovation Act as amended by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, extending the same authority to federal laboratories.

These acts enabled studies conducted at public-sector research institutes (PSRIs)–universities, research hospitals, nonprofit research institutes, and federal laboratories–in the United States to be freely published in the scientific literature, and also converted into intellectual property and transferred, through license agreements, to the private sector, enabling its commercialization and public use.

New Discoveries about Drug Discovery

The authors, exploring the impact of these acts three decades on, found that 153 new FDA-approved drugs, vaccines, or indications for existing drugs were discovered through studies carried out by PSRIs (four of which can be credited to current or former Boston University researchers).

They also found that PSRIs tend to discover drugs that have a disproportionately important clinical impact. “Slightly over half of these drugs were for the treatment or prevention of cancer or infectious diseases,” Stevens explains. “Furthermore, drugs discovered by PSRI’s received Priority Review by the FDA at twice the rate as for all FDA drug approvals, indicating that PSRI discovered drugs were expected to have a disproportionately high therapeutic impact.”

“Slightly over half of these drugs were for the treatment or prevention of cancer or infectious diseases; Drugs discovered by PSRI’s received Priority Review by the FDA at twice the rate as for all FDA drug approvals.”

As he and his colleagues write, “Our data show that PSRIs have contributed to the discovery of 9.3 to 21.2% of all drugs involved in new-drug applications approved during the period from 1990 through 2007.”

The paper has had broad influence since its publication, being  widely cited in the media and heavily quoted by policy makers in Washington noting the significant economic spillover from federal investments in basic science.  Recently, Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, cited the study in his explanation of the NIH’s proposed 2012/13 budget.

Ultimately, Stevens comments, “we believe that our study supports the concept that the emergence of biotechnology in the mid-1970s, combined with policy changes implemented in the early 1980s regarding the ownership and management of the intellectual property of PSRIs, allowed–and will continue to allow–these institutions to play an important role in the downstream, applied phase of drug  discovery.”

*“The Role of Public-Sector Research in the Discovery of Drugs and Vaccines,” Ashley J. Stevens, D.Phil., Jonathan J. Jensen, M.B.A., Katrine Wyller, M.B.E., Patrick C. Kilgore, B.S., Sabarni Chatterjee, M.B.A., Ph.D., and Mark L. Rohrbaugh, Ph.D., J.D., The New England Journal of Medicine, February 20, 2010.

Winning BU Team Announced to Compete in International Tech Strategy Case Competition

February 8th, 2011 in Digital Technology Sector, Graduate Students, School, Students

16 teams. 7 countries. $47.5K in Prizes: 6th Global Tech Strategy Competition


Participants from the 5th Annual BU International Tech Strategy Business Case CompetitionThe School of Management has announced the winners of the School’s internal 6th Annual International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition.  Four current full-time Boston University MBA students will go on to represent the School at the final round of the competition on March 24-26, where sixteen teams from top business schools around the world will vie for $47,500 in prizes.

Congratulations to Kevin Schlabach, Tarun  Theogaraj, Neel Madhvani, and Anish Menon!

These students beat out seven other internal teams in their presentation of the case “Seeking a Viable Go-to-Market Strategy for Apple TV in 2011,” written by Boston University School of Management Professor N. Venkatraman, one of the most cited business scholars across the world.

About the Boston University International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition:

Devoted to recognizing the top up-and-coming MBA strategists who understand the transformative power of IT in business.

This event is an invitation-only 24-hour case competition to solve a market challenge focused on technology in business strategy and operations.  Hosted in collaboration with market-leader Ericsson, the annual competition draws teams of full-time students from the world’s leading MBA programs as well as judges from leading IT firms.

It is devoted to recognizing the top up-and-coming MBA strategists who understand the transformative power of IT in business and to enabling student teams to showcase their talents to top players in the technology and telecomm fields.

Learn more

Boston University Names First Innovator-of-the-Year

August 9th, 2010 in Digital Technology Sector, Entrepreneurship, News, Press Release

Mark Grinstaff

Mark W. Grinstaff

Professor Mark W. Grinstaff wins inaugural honors


Boston University Professor Mark W. Grinstaff has won the inaugural Innovator-of-the-Year Award from BU’s Office of Technology Development, recognizing a faculty member who translates research into innovations that benefit humankind.  It was awarded at OTD’s first annual networking event, Tech, Drugs, & Rock ‘n Roll, the unofficial kickoff of a university-wide commitment to establish Boston University as the new hub of entrepreneurship in Boston.

A professor of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering and of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, Grinstaff co-founded three companies now commercializing his research ideas:  Hyperbranch Medical Technology, Flex Biomedical, and recent start-up Acuity Bio, which is commercializing a new drug delivery device for the prevention of tumor recurrence after surgical resection – a significant unmet clinical need. His current work includes research into new macromolecule and amphiphile syntheses, self-assembly chemistry, tissue engineering, and drug delivery.

” Professor Grinstaff is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of three companies producing beneficial products.” 

–Robert A. Brown, President of Boston University

“Professor Grinstaff is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of three companies producing beneficial products,” said BU President Robert Brown, who presented the award.  “His accomplishments in the past year include 15 peer-reviewed papers published, two invention disclosures, a patent filing, and more than $1 million invested in Flex Biomedical.”

Grinstaff received a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology.  His honors include the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award, NSF Career Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and Edward M. Kennedy Award for Health Care Innovation.

About the Boston University Innovator-of-the-Year Award

The Boston University Innovator-of-the-Year Award seeks to highlight translational research at the School by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member and the potential for commercialization and/or wider adoption of their inventions.  It also encourages faculty to become entrepreneurial while promoting role models who can inspire graduate students to pursue entrepreneurial careers.

Media Contact:
Adriane Dean
Marketing & Communications Manager
Boston University School of Management

How Boston University is Building Tomorrow’s Clean Energy Leaders

August 4th, 2010 in Digital Technology Sector, Energy & Environment Sector, MediaWatch, Sectors, SMG Hot Topics, Video

How Boston University is Building Tomorrows Clean Energy Leaders.

Video from the event Smart Grid as a Business Platform: Innovation, Adaptation, and Systems Challenges in the Clean Energy Market, held at the Time-Life Center in New York and hosted by Boston University School of Management.

Video from the event “Smart Grid as a Business Platform: Innovation, Adaptation, and Systems Challenges in the Clean Energy Market,” hosted by Boston University School of Management at the Time & Life Conference Center, NYC, on October 7, 2009.

Louis E. Lataif
, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, Boston University School of Management

Nalin Kulatilaka, The Wing Tat Lee Family Professor in Management, Boston University School of Management
Kenneth Lutchen, Dean, Boston University College of Engineering
Brian Dumaine, Global Editor, Fortune