Jian-Ping Wang doesn't like running companies, but he's already started two, and a third is under way. Wang has also filed 39 patents. "I don't like to be driven by money, by any other people," says the University of Minnesota engineering professor. "I like working on something I figure is really interesting, fundamentally difficult." But Wang also thinks about how his work could be applied beyond the lab.
Over the past decade, the University of Minnesota has overhauled its process for commercializing research discoveries. It's become easier for university entrepreneurs to start companies, and for existing companies to license and sell technology produced by university professors and students. The push to get innovation out of the lab and into the marketplace could amplify the university's already big impact on the Twin Cities' economy.