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Programs for Students

UM Ventures works to provide opportunities for students to participate in and lead real-world early-stage business ventures. Students engage in a variety of coursework and real work activities that foster experiential learning and offer practical experience. 

The Grid

The Grid, an innovation space located in UMB's Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL), allows students, entrepreneurs, faculty, and staff to connect to bring innovative health and social impact ideas to life through education, early-stage funding, and programming.

The Grid combines educational opportunities through the Graduate School with other University resources, such as UM Ventures staff, the BioPark, HS/HSL, and the Maryland Small Business Development Center, and the University of Maryland Business and Intellectual Property Law Clinic, to provide students a one-stop shop for anything related to entrepreneurial and innovation education.

Click here for more information about The Grid.

Click here for more infomation about The Grid Pitch.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network

EIN's Mission

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network (EIN) is a student run, grass roots initiative that aims to assemble entrepreneurial minded University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) students to create an ecosystem for innovation through interprofessional collaboration. We strive to embed the talent present within the UMB student body into the larger Baltimore area and BioHealth Capital Region entrepreneurial landscape through partnerships, networking, knowledge sharing and inspiration.

For more information about the Entrepreneurship Innovation Network, please visit: 

President's Entrepreneurial Fellowship


One of UMB’s top priorities is commercializing innovative technologies discovered by UMB faculty into new therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices, software solutions, and research tools. Successful technology transfer can improve healthcare around the world and create jobs in Maryland.

The President’s Entrepreneurial Fellowship is an initiative designed to give students from UMB and the Smith School of Business hands-on training and experience in commercializing health science discoveries made by UMB faculty. The Fellows will work together as an inter-disciplinary team to bring several of UMB’s most promising technologies to market.

Learn more about the program or apply.

Graduate Translational Research Award

The Graduate Translational Research (GTR) Award promotes the mission of the UM Ventures, Baltimore to translate basic research outcomes into real-world applications. Presented in collaboration with the Graduate Research Conference (GRC), this award recognizes important translational research performed by a UMB graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. The GRC is hosted annually by the Graduate Student Association of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The GTR Award recipients will receive checks ($500 to the winner and $250 to the runner-up) and certificates of recognition at the GRC awards reception.

Applicants will be evaluated on their GRC oral or poster presentation in addition to a separate, written application for the GTR Award.

Written applications must include:

  1. An outline of the focus and potential uses of the research, including how theresearch might ultimately be exploited to develop a product (e.g., drug, device,diagnostic, etc.) for public use and benefit.
  2. A summary of the original aspects of the research project.
  3. The current stage and future plans for the research.
  4. The applicant’s name, UMB e-mail address, a phone number where they maybe reached during business hours, and the name of their research advisor.
  5. Applications should not exceed two pages (12-point font, single spacing, 1-inch margins).

The GTR Award application must be emailed to Dr. Nancy Cowger, Director of Licensing for UM Ventures, Baltimore, at [email protected] by March 29, 2024 with the subject line “Application for Graduate Translational Research Award.”


I-Corps is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Initiative to increase the economic impact of research and social entrepreneurship.  

This course engages participants to explore their ideas and research deeply by talking to potential customers, partners and competitors and encountering the challenges and uncertainty of creating successful innovations. This workshop provides tools and guidance to help validate (or invalidate) a business model for maximizing the number people your research or concept impacts. Validated opportunities can be then be pursued by you or by teams from UMB and UMCP or from the region and could be a startup, a large company, a non-profit or foundation, government, etc. This isn't a workshop about starting a company. Instead, it's structured coaching to help you better identify and validate opportunities where innovative research can make a scalable and sustainable impact.

The first cohort of I-Corps was piloted at UMB and lead by Dr. Dean Chang, Associate Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, College Park. The program is designed to be as convenient as possible for teams to attend, currently most of the program is conducted virtually. The kick-off was a half-day in-person event, followed by 10-20 customer discovery interviews and two 30-minute check-in meetings/calls scheduled at a times that are convenient for the participant. I-Corps is a campus-wide program jointly offered by the Graduate School and the Office of Research and Development.

If you're interested in being put on the waitlist or be alerted about future I-Corps workshops please visit: 

President's Student Leadership Institute (PSLI)

PSLI is a co-curricular certificate program designed to expose students to contemporary issues in leadership and professional development in order to prepare participants for professional leadership in a diverse workplace. Within PSLI, there is an entrepreneurship and innovation track where students can explore the work through revolutionary thought and design thinking. Students will learn foundational concepts of entrepreneurship and proven techniques for identifying and assessing opportunity, hypothesis testing, creating a prototype, funding, and much more. Through this course students will hone the skills they need to develop a new enterprise or discover how to pursue opportunities for growth within an existing organization. PSLI is an interprofessional program that creates opportunities for students in different fields to interact and learn from one another. This program will utilize a series of lunchtime seminars, discussions, and service opportunities to support the learning throughout the course of the academic year. Click here for more information.

Coursework - Entrepreneurship in Life Sciences

This course is open to all graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Students will explore the development of a life sciences start-up venture, and in some cases, begin to create their own start-up ventures. Students will learn how to assess the feasibility of a life science start-up venture, evaluate financial and market opportunities, explore the customer discovery process, author a business plan, and build financial projections. Students will discuss a wide range of issues of importance and concern to life science entrepreneurs and learn to recognize opportunity, assess the skills and talents of successful entrepreneurs, network with life science entrepreneurs, learn models and approaches that help them analyze entrepreneurial opportunities throughout their career. Successful life science entrepreneurs will highlight real world experiences in guest lectures.

Course Goals

  • To learn methods to evaluate life science based technology and intellectual property as basis of new venture creation
  • To study the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for entrepreneurship
  • To evaluate market, operational and financial feasibility of venture formation
  • To learn basic business planning and financial planning skills
  • To network with life science entrepreneurs
  • To provide students with the skills for identifying and analyzing entrepreneurial opportunities throughout their career

Statement of Confidentiality

Throughout the course, students will be exposed to proprietary information from other students, guest lecturers and faculty. All such information is to be treated as confidential. By enrolling in and taking part in this course, students agree not to disclose this information to any third parties without the specific written permission from students, guest lecturers or faculty as applicable. Students further agree not to utilize any such proprietary information for their own personal commercial advantage or for the commercial advantage of any third party. In additions, students agree that any advice provided by the instructor and any affiliated parties will not serve as the basis on any legal suit. Any breach of this policy may subject a student to academic integrity proceedings as described in the University of Maryland policies and procedures, and to any remedies that may be available at law. Receipt of this policy and registration in our classes is evidence that you understand this policy and will abide by it.

Course Materials

  • The Entrepreneur’s Guide to a Biotech Startup” by Peter Kolchinsky, PhD. Available free as a PDF.
  • Articles and readings as assigned


  • Interim assignments (5% per sub-item) 25%
    • Concept submission (team)
    • Market and competitive analysis (team)
    • Regulatory, ethics and operations statement (team)
    • Marketing plan (team)
    • Financial statements (team)
  • Business Plan (team) 25%
  • Investor Presentation (team) 20%
  • Class participation (individual) 10%
  • Peer evaluation (individual) 10%
  • Investor feedback (individual) 10%

Instructor - Rana Quraishi, PhD

Professional Background and Experience

Director of New Ventures UMB

  • Create startups from appropriate University IP, develop business strategy and function as senior management at startups and obtain funding.
  • Developed UMB’s New Venture Initiative (NVI) approved by Board of Regents
  • Manage NVI team and consultants
  • Maintain extensive relationships with major national venture firms, angel groups, and external innovation teams at pharma companies
  • Run Presidential Entrepreneurial Fellowship program


  • Senior Advisor at TCG Group, a premiere private equity firm focused on business development opportunities for its life science companies
  • Principal at Conning Capital Partners/SwissRe an early stage private equity fund providing growth capital for entrepreneurial companies - served on Boards of several portfolio companies.
  • CFO/senior advisor for Helicon Therapeutics, a start-up with assets contributed by Cold Spring Harbor and OSI Pharmaceuticals - developed business plan, obtained full funding for plan.
  • Senior roles in acquisitions, treasury and risk at Standard and Poor’s, GE Capital, J.E. Seagram and American Express
  • Authored “Market Demand Study for Commercial Biotechnology, Biomedical, and Bioinformatics Facilities in New York City” for New York City Partnership and Investment Fund.
  • Taught Biochemistry and Genetics at Columbia University during PhD, subsequently guest lecturer at academic institutions
  • PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry - Columbia University, BA - Columbia (Barnard), Master Degree - Harvard University.