Student teams from the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School Global MBA program presented commercialization plans for eight military medicine projects in December 2011, marking the first such Department of Defense/university technology transfer partnership.

The military projects were all sponsored by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. TATRC joined with Johns Hopkins's new Global MBA program in its Discovery to Market Project, or D2M, a required yearlong course in which students develop a business plan for translating a scientific discovery into a technology with commercial potential.

The TATRC researchers were among several high-technology partners working with the students. TATRC projects included in the program ranged from an e-learning system for surgical skills to a wearable robotic arm to a mobile diabetes self-care system.

TATRC's director of technology transfer and commercialization, Ron Marchessault, said he approached Hopkins about participating in the project because he felt it could be a useful part of TATRC's wider commercialization program. He and Carey Business School interim dean Dr. Phillip Phan and other staff worked out a collaboration that would aid in TATRC's goal of translating research into new products to advance the care of the nation's warfighters.

The D2M program gave the students vital experience in applying business theory to assist high-tech start-up companies in the Baltimore/Washington region. At the same time, it provided invaluable input that may help speed promising technology to market in order to address the health needs of service members.

"The intellectual property research and in-depth marketing analyses the students provided these scientists and small companies for free could easily have cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Dr. Toby Gordon, the D2M course director. "The students were enthusiastic and brought all of the resources of Johns Hopkins to bear on their projects."

Dr. Yiming Chen, who managed the TATRC student projects, noted that the inventors were surveyed, and most were highly satisfied with the quality of the students' work.

"We were very pleased to have such rigorous, objective analyses for these projects regarding what would be needed to create a viable product and who would buy it," said Marchessault. "The D2M partnership is helpful to our efforts to apply federal research dollars where they will have the greatest benefit, and we look forward to working with the next class of students."

TATRC has an innovative Technology Transfer Program to partner federally funded research and development with private sector investment to bring new technologies to the care of the warfighter.