Co-inventor. ( A small step forward )
One small step forward in my PhD – successfully filed a provisional patent application as co-inventor with my advisor, for a device that resulted from my research. (we have two companies interested in licensing it so far..)
Back in 2010, when I enrolled at Stanford, I had two public goals and two secret goals from my PhD.
The public goals were easy and obvious – learn to be a good scientist and hopefully publish some papers. However, the secret goals were to be an entrepreneur and build something of industrial relevance and application.
The former goals are easy to achieve. Almost every graduate student achieves them. The latter are the tricky ones and easiest to ignore. I’ll admit – I even secretly forgot my secret goals.
In academic and applied research, finding an industrial application and companies to invest time and money in your research can be a tremendously challenging goal. Add to this the fact that most research is organized in the form of conducting scientific experiments first, and thinking of potential applications later, the probability of one single graduate students research seeing light at the end of the day and being applied, is extremely tiny.
Hence, I consider myself lucky. After almost three years of setbacks and failures in research, things seem to be taking an upward turn. An application for patent is not that great of an achievement. It’s only a small step forward in the right direction. It’s a sign that others see usefulness in your work and deem it worthy of their investment – monetary and time.
Since this is not a one-man show, but rather a collaborative team effort – credit is due to GGF, CG, CB and rest of the Fuller lab members (past & current).