Seven UC Berkeley, faculty scientists with novel ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit have been named to the 2019-20 cohort of Bakar Fellows, an honor that gives the fellows the money and time to translate their laboratory breakthroughs into technologies ready for the marketplace.
The awards foster a culture that led Forbes magazine to rank Berkeley the No. 3 entrepreneurial university in the country several years ago and keeps the campus at the top nationwide in terms of venture capital-funded startups and women-led venture capital-backed startups.
While some new fellows may become future CEOs, all will serve as role models, mentors and faculty founders with advice for equally entrepreneurial students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty, according to the program’s faculty director, Amy Herr, a Berkeley professor of bioengineering.
“Our goal is to boost projects with applied potential, but also to make visible the faculty who are interested in translating their discoveries out into the world in some way,” Herr said. “This is particularly important for students and postdocs who are in environments where startups are not visible or celebrated — or perhaps they have not viewed themselves as entrepreneurial just yet — to connect them with people who can advise and make connections.”
The Bakar Fellows Program at Berkeley fosters faculty entrepreneurship in fields including engineering, computer science, the biological and physical sciences and architecture.
One of the seven new Bakar fellows is Alessandra Lanzara, Charles Kittel Professor of Physics, whose research group has invented a way to measure and control the spin quantum number of electrons in materials. She is now exploring the technique’s application in quantum computing.