Today, the professors of the 21st century are concerned not only with their traditional responsibilities of teaching and research, but also with the development of inventions, patents, and commerce. Thanks in large part to the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, academic scientists are encouraged to translate their research into marketable products and perhaps even new business opportunities. While popular culture often celebrates the "lone inventor", real-world innovation is more often the result of active collaboration among partners, mentors, and financers.
One of the strengths of the IIN is that it provides the supportive framework necessary for innovation including a combination of sponsored research, partnerships with academia, industry, national labs, state and federal government, and business professionals, and supporting infrastructure.
This innovation ecosystem encourages and supports the translation of discovery science into products that benefit society.
Current trends suggest that the number of nanotechnology workers and products worldwide will double every three years, reaching a $3 trillion market with six million jobs by 2020.
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