The Fulbright Program's From Lab to Market enrichment seminars incubate global innovation, and the 2012 installments were no exception!
In May, more than 135 Fulbrighters from the developing world met in Boston, MA and Seattle, WA to examine the global challenges of public health, and energy and the environment through the lenses of scientific research and social entrepreneurship - in other words, moving ideas from “lab to market.” Participating Fulbright Foreign Students are graduate students at colleges and universities across the United States, studying science, technology, and other relevant fields.
I attended the Boston seminar, which focused on global health. Visits to local research sites like Diagnostics for All, the Broad Institute, the Dimcock Center, and the Forsyth Institute allowed participants to see U.S. innovation in action. In Seattle, the focus was on energy and the environment; Fulbrighters considered global resources and looked at how local partnerships could create and implement green solutions in developing and developed countries.
Fulbrighters also conducted site visits to local agricultural, energy, and conservation sites, including Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at the University of Washington, local utility company Seattle Steam, the Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program, and the Issaquah Salmon Fish Hatchery.
Teams of Fulbrighters from around the world then capped off the seminar with a “master class,” complemented by panel discussions on the nonprofit, private, and academic perspectives on these issues. The panelists' stories provided tips on the “lab to market” process, including effective use of social media and how to sell your passion to potential investors. By working together on a case study, analyzing research, using social media tools, and making a business pitch for their solution, the students could better understand the value of collaboration and what makes “fundable” proposals stand out from the others.
It hit home for me when Nina Dudnik, a former Fulbright U.S. Student and a panelist at our Boston seminar, credited her Fulbright experience in Côte d'Ivoire for the amazing work she is doing today. Through the nonprofit she started, Seeding Labs, she is connecting scientists around the globe and helping them get the tools they need to succeed.
The Fulbrighters' hard work and new understanding from the From Lab to Market seminars, open up new avenues of cooperation across countries and fields of study. While this year's seminars are over, the students' online networks will continue to flourish - and perhaps they'll bring us the world's next great innovation!
The Fulbright “From Lab to Market” Seminars are a component of the 17 Fulbright Enrichment Seminars for foreign students hosted across the United States. These enrichment seminars benefit Fulbright foreign students, engage U.S. experts and local communities, and support the overall mission of the Fulbright Program. A video of the 2011 Fulbright Enrichment Seminars demonstrates their impact. For more information, please click here.