Innovation was in the air at Princeton University last week. At the PRISM Symposium on March 13 and 14, there was much talk of technology transfer: strategies for bringing discoveries to market, led by John Ritter, director of Princeton’s Office of Technology Licensing, and Cornelia Huellstrunk, executive director of Princeton’s Keller Center.

Their remarks at the PRISM conference were the high-tech version of “how the sausage is made,” filled with technical jargon. The audience was sparse.

Just across Olden Avenue, at the Keller Center’s 13th annual Innovation Forum, students and the general public crammed into a large room at the Carl A. Fields Center. There the focus was on current Princeton research with the potential to be commercialized. Nine entrepreneurial teams made presentations to six judges to contend for prizes totaling $30,000 in a Shark Tank-style competition.

The prizes went to: Generation FlowMeter (first prize), PhotoPharma (light-based control to speed protein manufacture, second prize), and a way to use nanoparticles to eliminate superbugs (third prize).

Some of the same technologies presented at the PRISM seminar had shaped the competing start-ups, but a Shark Tank style of competition beats details on sausage manufacture, every time.

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