Photo courtesy of Lee P. Thomas

WILLING PARTNER: The University of Kentucky works closely with business and industry, says Ed Carter, vice president for management and budget.
In the course of an academic research project, you make a discovery that has potential applications outside the laboratory. As you explore the idea further, you become convinced that the advance might form the basis for a new company. But as a working scientist, you know roughly as much about commercial start-ups as you know about the government of Outer Mongolia.

So what do you do next? Muddle your way through the process, taking advice wherever you can find it, then learn from your mistakes? You don't have to waste that much valuable time on the way to the market. Some academic institutions are taking some of the pressure off would-be entrepreneurs. Not only do they offer help in such basic pursuits as...

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