Innovation Training

The Innovation as a Discipline (IaaD) program at CTSI provides advanced training in innovation to complement CTSI's Innovations Training Program in the Institute of Clinical Research Education (ICRE). Our overall approach is to offer experiential training as well as advanced innovation seminars and workshops and to establish a promotion path in the School of Medicine that values and rewards translation through commercialization. 

Innovation Track

We co-developed a master’s level curriculum Innovation Track with the ICRE, which provides training related to taking ideas from early-stage discovery to products and services that can be taken to market. Fundamental to the program is the idea that commercialization of research results—or even the collaboration with private sector partners—is often instrumental in the creation of societal benefits. Trainees are encouraged to create a go-to-market plan for their own innovations that can result in the creation of a new enterprise or licensing agreement for the technology or service. A project such as this may be developed in conjunction (e.g., through an externship) with the Innovation Institute or one of several local incubators (e.g., AlphaLab Gear, Idea Foundry, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse). The mentoring and graduate committee appointed to work with trainees provide hands-on guidance in the identification and completion of an appropriate project that will fulfill the ICRE’s master’s thesis requirement.

Entrepreneurship Promotions and Tenure Track

We conceptualized and are co-leading the development of new promotions and tenure criteria and metrics in the Pitt School of Medicine that rewards entrepreneurship accomplishments.

For more information, contact Don Taylor at


Innovation requires collaboration and stakeholder engagement, which can be enabled by experiential training. Working with the CTSI Community PARTners Core, we are developing and promoting opportunities to create teams that include clinicians, engineers, scientists, patients, community leaders, industry and business stakeholders, and others to address clinical and public health problems through commercial translation. Examples of networking activities include:

For more information, contact Mike Flock at or RaNaja Kennedy at

Innovation Externship Program

The Innovation as a Discipline (IaaD) program will enhance formal courses and mentoring from the ICRE by organizing an Innovation Externship Program that will provide training in the four Innovation Discipline Domains: Industry, Entrepreneurship, Academia, and Regulatory. Externs will develop advanced skills of innovation and entrepreneurship such as market segmentation, high-fidelity prototyping and solution ideation, financial pro forma development, competitive analysis, pricing sensitivity analysis, and product lifecycle management. These skills supplement those acquired through ICRE’s innovation training programs and IaaD program seminars and other activities.

For more information, contact John Maier at