Trustees committee discusses promoting intellectual property

TEAUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A number of Penn State leaders discussed promoting intellectual property during the University’s Board of Trustees Committee on Outreach, Development and Community Relations meeting today (Sept. 14) at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel. 

During the presentation, Neil Sharkey, vice president for research, highlighted a unique startup that began through the University’s Invent Penn State initiative — TEAMology

TEAMology is a program that assists students with social skills, career education, anti-bullying strategies, friendship and relational skills. 

Sharkey explained that the startup has received overwhelming support from Penn State’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including assistance from the Office of Technology Management to license its intellectual property (IP), selection to participate in 10-week startup accelerator program run by Ben Franklin Technology Partners and more than $100,000 in funding through various grants, investments and competitions. 

“Although Lindsay Covert, the founder of TEAMology and a Penn State alumna, is an ‘unintentional’ entrepreneur, the energy, creativity and vision she exhibits is very much at the heart of what the University is trying to accomplish via Invent Penn State and the promotion of intellectual property,” Sharkey said. 

Covert, who is an instructor in education, said, “I was on this mission after I left Penn State to develop something that was relevant to students and make them understand their responsibility to each other, and build a sense of team. 

“We’re a very nontraditional company — when you look at universities, you think of IST [information sciences and technology] and engineering with more traditional product. I’m an unintentional entrepreneur,” Covert said. “What I learned is in order to really make an impact, there had to be a model to do it full scale. We are making an impact on real people. There’s this big opportunity that lies within a lot of research that’s going on at Penn State. It’s pulling out the research and creating a company to bring it full scale to make a difference in people’s lives.” 

To date, Covert’s startup has trained more than 1,000 TEAMology teachers, who are teaching more than 14,000 K-8 students to help others create positive change, eradicate bullying, problem solve with creative and critical thinking, build resilience, be leaders and work as a team. 

Sharkey said Penn State’s efforts to promote IP means creating greater accessibility and visibility for IP, increasing capacity for startups and creating awareness not only around the University, but across the state. 

To do this, Penn State has sponsored events such as the Accessibility and Visibility Venture and IP Conference — set for April 2018 — as well as creating 17 Innovation Hubs in communities across the Commonwealth. 

Other offices around the University have also been supporting the work, including Strategic Communications, Outreach and Online Education, Development and Alumni Affairs, Government and Community Relations and the Penn State Alumni Association. 

“It’s gratifying to see the enthusiasm everyone’s showing for Invent Penn State and the University’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship and intellectual property. It truly exemplifies the ingenious power of partnership,” Sharkey said.

Last Updated October 25, 2017