Is the Commercialization Program Right for Me?

Eligibility Requirements for Applicants

The expectations of an engineer have grown considerably in recent years, especially in the areas of business and entrepreneurship. Even engineers who don’t plan on starting their own business can enhance their marketability by having business skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Commercialization Fellowships are for students who are immersed in a particular technology, but now want to see it through a business lens. Ph.D. students enrolled in any of Cornell Engineering’s departments can apply to be a fellow. Applicants must:

  • Have passed the A exam*
  • Obtain permission and support from their advisor
  • Have a product or technology that has indications of commercial potential
  • Be willing to undertake deep commercial assessment process, including in-depth customer outreach and interviews

*Typically, Fellows have completed most of their research and are close to completing their Ph.D. program; during the Fellowship, it is anticipated that the commercialization activity is a Fellow's primary focus, rather than their core research.

By enrolling in the program, Fellows work with a technology or product that is personally meaningful to them. And because researching and developing a business plan is embedded in the educational experience, students don’t have to spend their own time and money developing one.

Building From a Strong Foundation

While there are a multitude of opportunities for entrepreneurial education at Cornell, not all of them are available to engineering Ph.D. students. The Commercialization Fellowship provides access to these programs through one, comprehensive program that is modeled after the success experienced by former Ph.D. students with entrepreneurial ambitions, but eliminates many of the barriers they faced.

The program is supported in part by the late Cornell Engineering alumnus Eric A. Young '78, co-founder of Canaan Partners, a venture capital investment firm serving emerging growth technology companies.