Ph.D. Commercialization Fellowship

The Commercialization Fellowship is an opportunity for engineering Ph.D. students to take a deep dive into the commercialization process and potential real-world applications of university inventions.


What is a Commercialization Fellowship?

The Commercialization Fellowship is a unique opportunity for Ph.D. students to spend a fully-funded semester and summer in an intensive entrepreneurship program with a personal mentor to explore commercializing a product of the student’s choosing. From intellectual property management to supply chains, students will learn the tools, methods and skills for bringing a product or technology to market.

The fellowship experience will enable deep experiential learning in the commercial side of innovation, and one-on-one mentoring assures a deep, personalized educational experience unmatched by traditional entrepreneurship programs.

Learn more about the Commercialization Fellowship curriculum and the expected commitment of participants.

Headan Bai Headshot

"The fellowship experience gave me the opportunity to look at a technology from the lens of market needs. Through commercialization exploration, I'm glad to see our sensor platform technology sparks many interests across industries. This experience has taught me how to marry research motivations with market needs, produce useful technologies, and eventually make positive impacts to our society."

— Hedan Bai, PhD, Materials Science

Alumni Success

Juan Guzman PhD'18

Headshot juan guzmanJuan Guzman came to Cornell interested in entrepreneurship and through his Commercialization Fellowship, he learned to conduct customer discovery and found a successful customer niche for his research. “Initially, we researched converting waste water from the bioethanol industry and waste water from the wine industry,” explained Guzman. “I also went to an American Cheese Society conference and spoke to them about conversion of waste water with whey. I discovered this was not really a pain point for them; but, when we looked at research on acid whey, we began to think seriously about the Greek yogurt industry.” Guzman continued.

The Commercialization Fellowship afforded Guzman time outside the lab to explore his business idea. It also offered training in entrepreneurship and connected him with partners in industry. Taking what he learned in the fellowship, he launched his startup, Capro-X, which upcycles dairy waste into valuable biofuels and bioplastics. Capro-X success highlights include:

  • Won NSF Phase I and Phase II grants for a total of $949,000
  • Received $250k in the Grow-NY business competition
  • The company is currently hiring more team members and looking to move into larger lab space

Commercialization Fellows News

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