Entrepreneur and Business Strategy Consultant Marla Schuchman joins Jefferson Lab as manager of its new Research and Technology Partnerships Office
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – In conducting its research mission, the skilled and resourceful scientists and engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility generate ideas and technologies that have the potential to solve real-world problems. Now, with the establishment of its new Research and Technology Partnerships Office, the lab is expanding its innovation capabilities to put the lab’s scientific and technological advances to work to the benefit of society.
The office will be led by Marla Schuchman, a business strategist and marketing professional with strong ties to the Hampton Roads entrepreneurial ecosystem and international startup community, and who was recently hired to lead this effort.
“The establishment of the Research and Technology Partnerships Office is an important step to ensure the unique ideas and technologies that are developed here go on to benefit society, our nation and our region,” said Jefferson Lab Director Stuart Henderson. “We welcome Marla to the lab and look forward to the work she does with our inventors, researchers and potential partners to put our technologies to work.”
In this new role, Schuchman will lead the technology transfer, industry engagement and partnership development efforts on behalf of the lab. The Research and Technology Partnerships Office will explore with the lab’s researchers, engineers, data scientists and inventors additional partnership opportunities through the Department of Energy or other federal or state agencies. The office will lead the pursuit of funding opportunities and facilitate programs that leverage the lab’s mission, specialties and technologies. Additionally, in support of regional priorities, Schuchman will work with community partners in Hampton Roads and the mid-Atlantic to expand how Jefferson Lab shares its unique benefits with local organizations and interest groups.
The newly formed Research and Technology Partnerships Office will guide inventors as well as their discoveries and technologies through the tech transfer process to ensure that intellectual property opportunities receive the focus, support and outreach they need to succeed in the marketplace. Additionally, Schuchman plans to initiate new innovation programs related to the lab’s mission. She will work closely with the lab’s staff to identify opportunities to strengthen entrepreneurial thinking and drive.
“There are many hurdles to bring a new technology to market,” Schuchman said. “I’ll be shepherding our teammates through the process.”
Schuchman is the first individual at Jefferson Lab who is singularly dedicated to assisting inventors in finding the right fit for their intellectual property beyond the research environment.
“I’m excited to refine the process by which we identify, support, and commercialize promising intellectual property. I’m also looking forward to working closely with our inventors and partners to support their R&D and entrepreneurial goals.” Schuchman explained.
She said that she plans to turn a critical eye on current processes. Her aim is to revamp them to make them more agile and responsive, yet also tailored to each inventor’s and invention’s particular opportunities. This task is made more challenging by the breadth of inventors at the lab, from scientists and engineers to staff administrators and computer programmers.
“The application of a particular technology may be in the commercial sector, incorporated into a novel or existing product or service. Or it may have so much potential that it can form the core offering of an entirely new business entity.” she said.
The lab is no stranger to supporting technology startups. In 2009, researchers at the lab co-developed a unique process for producing boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT)—string-like structures that are one hundred times stronger than steel, lightweight, able to conduct electricity and heat-resistant. With support from the lab, the researchers who developed the technology started BNNT, LLC. The company has continued to develop BNNT technology and promote its use in the commercial, aerospace, medical, consumer and technology sectors.
Schuchman brings an entrepreneurial mindset and a breadth of experience helping startups develop their go-to-market and business strategies through her consulting company Three Sheep. Most recently, she built Made in 757, an online Etsy-like marketplace for creative entrepreneurs in Hampton Roads.
Schuchman has a B.S. in communications from New York University and an M.S. in management; technology and entrepreneurship, also from NYU.
By Carrie Rogers and Kandice Carter
Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office, firstname.lastname@example.org