Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Innovation: Gerngross Boosts Entrepreneurship

It takes successful entrepreneurs to know what entrepreneurs need to succeed.

That’s the principle behind Dartmouth’s appointment of Thayer Professor Tillman Gerngross and Trip Davis ’90 to lead the College’s new Office of Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer. Gerngross will serve as associate provost of entrepreneurship and technology transfer while Davis serves as the office’s executive director.

Professor Tillman Gerngross
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Professor Tillman Gerngross brings personal expertise to Dartmouth’s new Office of Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer. Photograph by John Sherman.

Both Gerngross and Davis are experienced entrepreneurs. Gerngross has cofounded four biotech companies, GlycoFi—which was acquired by pharmaceutical giant Merck for $400 million in 2006—Adimab, Arsanis, and Avitide. Davis, most recently technology entrepreneur and administrator at the University of Virginia, cofounded Green Room, a travel technology company, and TRX Inc., a global leader in travel technology and data services.

Gerngross wants to smooth the way at Dartmouth for innovators to have an impact on the real world. “We should be in the business of catalyzing spin-off innovations and technologies, not taxing them,” he says. “To be successful, innovators have to be empowered. It is not about getting in the middle of negotiations, it is about being an enabler and supporter of the process.”

Overseeing the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, Dartmouth Regional Technology Center, and Technology Transfer Office, Gerngross and Davis will link experts throughout Dartmouth, Thayer, Tuck School of Business, Geisel School of Medicine, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. They’ll also tap Dartmouth alumni in business to help faculty and students bring their innovations to market. “I want this to be the place where they say ‘No one is better than Dartmouth in helping me translate my discoveries into something that has an impact,’” says Gerngross. “The metric to measure success is the number of lives impacted by what we do.”

Gerngross brings a sense of personal mission to his new responsibilities. “I feel Dartmouth has allowed me to do things that would have been very hard to do at any other place. This environment has provided me with the freedom to fully explore translational research all the way to having real commercial impact,” he says. “I feel there is an opportunity to give something back that allows us to carve out a space that is different from other universities or colleges.”

—Kirsten Mabry

Categories: The Great Hall, Innovations

Tags: entrepreneurship, faculty

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