Entrepreneurship Program at Institute for Optical Sciences


Venkat Venkataramanan, Dir. Scientific Operations, IOS

The Institute for Optical Sciences at University of Toronto was started in 2005 with the mission to create a world-class academic research centre in optics. We have since evolved as a vibrant interdisciplinary academic research and a unique entrepreneurship education centre. This talk will highlight our academic focus, strong industry partnerships and entrepreneurship education program.

Knowledge gained through scientific research is hardly beneficial to the society, unless translated as products and services. In a typical academic institution like the U of T, only a small fraction of researchers are engaged in technology transfer. Researchers focused on fundamental work rarely disclose inventions or engage in industry-focused research. The society can draw immense benefits if vast trove of expertise that is cached in academia is properly harnessed.

At the IOS we work closely with the industries to identify knowledge gaps and academic researchers to proactively create appropriate knowledge that can translate to societal benefits in quick time. On the other end, we also help identify commercializable potential emerging out of fundamental research and help create new companies. Our entrepreneurship program is targeted to students (typically graduates and post-doctoral fellows) with strong physical sciences background. We educate and equip students to lead the commercialization activities, with professors staying in as technology supervisors. In addition benefiting the society through job creation, industrial growth and tax revenue, our industrial partners and start-up companies are growing into a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Venkat Venkataramanan

Venkataramanan is the Director, Scientific Operations of the Institute for Optical Sciences at the University of Toronto and the Director of Smart Sustainable Lighting Network. He heads the photometry and Solid State Lighting labs and is one of the lead investigators in the entrepreneurship education program at the IOS. Following his doctoral degree in Physics from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore he held various research and teaching positions in the UK, India, Portugal and Japan.

Venkat is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ryerson University in Toronto. He is also the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Lumentra Inc that develops nanomaterial solutions for LED applications and NVLAP/ISO 17025 accredited services to LED industry. He is the president of Canadian National Advisory Committee member of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) and a Technical Committee member of various standards related to lighting. He is also strongly interested in science outreach and has co-hosted science talk shows in radio and television for about 4 years.

Red dwarf star CHXR 73 A and companion object (artist's concept)