Skip to main content
Cornell University


Monday, May 21, 2018
Turning Science into Business

The keynote presentation at the 10th annual Biotechnology Symposium by Judy Albers, VanArsdale Chair in Entrepreneurship at SUNY Geneseo, summarized key lessons from her career on how to turn a research idea from the lab into a commercialized business. The 1980 Bayh-Dole Act opened up legislation for federally funded research to be patented and commercialized. What followed was a flood of technology transfer offices opening at research universities, and now every campus boasts about entrepreneurship programs. But the question remains, how does one turn science into business?

Dr. Albers shared her lessons learned from having developed and implemented the Pre-Seed Workshop, which was designed to address the need for a quick turn-around, locally-based, efficient, effective methodology for a sophisticated demographic to investigate the commercial potential of new technologies emanating from research labs across the state. Through well-structured cross-disciplinary teams, mixed generations, and powerful synergies, the program has 'created magic' at over 35 universities in the US and abroad. The value of a pre-emptive 'no' has also strengthened the outcomes of many programs in upstate NY, as seen in the ecosystem map hosted by Upstate Venture Connect.

The most impactful stories from her presentation are actually the lessons learned from failure. As important to teach as the path to success, failure is the more commonly travelled road for entrepreneurs, whether due to no market need, running out of cash, not having the right team, or not understanding the competition. It is important to learn from the mistakes of others to increase your chances for success. So make sure you know the answers to the most fundamental business questions, get involved in the programs that your campus and/or community offers, get out of your lab/workshop/studio and talk to the right people, challenge yourself by entering competitions, and don't let the world define success or failure for you.

Be creative and take intelligent risks.

To view her full presentation, click here.