Spring Boeing Patent Challenge begins

By Nancy Bouffides

The Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis is continuing their partnership with Boeing’s Phantom Works Ventures.

The Challenge had tremendous success, and every school at Wash U was represented by more than 120 students. High-level Boeing executives who travelled to St. Louis for the final presentation on Dec. 3 were impressed with the finalists, and look enthusiastically forward to the next round.  Students will again have an opportunity to commercialize Boeing patents in non-aerospace applications – with total prizes of $5,000.

Information sessions are scheduled for Jan. 21, Jan. 22 and Jan. 25 for interested undergraduate, graduate and professional students. On Jan. 27 & 28, “speed-dating” events will be held to facilitate team formation, with the goal of having interdisciplinary teams formed by Friday, Jan. 29. Dates, times and locations of all events are available on the Skandalaris Center website.

The challenge is comprised of two phases, where more than fifty categories and thousands of Boeing patents selected for highest commercialization potential are made available to participants. Interdisciplinary teams form with membership including students from a minimum of three of Washington University’s seven schools. Teams may enter the challenge fully-formed, or students can attend Skandalaris info sessions and speed dating events to get connected with participants from different schools.

During Phase 1, teams will work to translate the technical jargon of their selected patents into plain English and rich media. This phase closes on Feb. 17 with a Poster Session where teams will visually and verbally explain their patent(s) in such a way that anyone can understand the function and potential applications of the selected technology.

In Phase 2, the teams will build a new venture concept around the patents. University faculty members may participate in an advisory capacity, but are not eligible for awards. Final presentations and judging will take place on April 25th in Emerson Auditorium on the Danforth Campus, where Boeing recruiters and high-level executives will be present. Skandalaris and Boeing Phantom Works will be available throughout the competition to provide guidance and mentorship.

“We were completely amazed by the student’s creativity, their intellect and drive last semester, and are continuing to work with some of the finalist teams, said Barry Martin, project manager for the challenge and an employee in Phantom Works Ventures. “We have worked closely with the Skandalaris Center to make the spring semester Boeing Patent Challenge even better.  It will be exciting to see what next semester’s teams explore.”

Complete information about the challenge is available at skandalaris.wustl.edu/boeing-challenge/.