MUNTech is a student-led entrepreneurial group comprised of both current graduate students and alumni with advanced degrees in science and engineering. MUNTech aims to strengthen the Newfoundland and Labrador technology industry by developing new tech-based businesses that leverages the research expertise of local graduate students.
The group formed to help address two key issues. The first of these is the vast amount of "brain drain" facing the province as a result of outmigration. Many graduates of post-secondary programs leave the province to find work in other parts of the country. MUNTech asks local science and engineering graduate students to reconsider the job search and instead of seeking work that fits a skill set, to create a job using their expertise.
The second key issue MUNTech identified was the need to commercialize research. Many technology-based businesses are based on scientific concepts which were discovered decades before their actual date of commercialization. In order to grow the economy, MUNTech believes this timeframe needs to be drastically reduced. Graduates with advanced degrees in science and engineering develop a vast array of expertise and knowledge culminating from their involvement with research - these students could potentially help alleviate the "brain drain" in the province. They exhibit the expertise required to create new technologies and new tech-based businesses. However, commercializing these technologies is an area in which they need help, and MUNTech is going to play a role in helping make this happen.
Overall, an innovation pipeline requires the input of ideas in addition to the infrastructure to maintain it. As there exist many agencies and incubators in the province to maintain this infrastructure, MUNTech views itself as situated at the beginning of this pipeline, creating innovative ideas to go through the pipe by means of the graduate student. As technology-based businesses have a real potential for success and high growth, MUNTech has focused solely on developing ideas which have a sound scientific foundation. The group operates under a team-based student networking approach which currently includes Masters and PhD students in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and mathematics. This allows students in one field to network and further develop their ideas with students in other advanced fields.
MUNTech has the support of the Faculty of Science and is currently expanding its members. In addition, MUNTech is a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI). Partnerships are currently being developed with other NL businesses and organizations that have similar goals.
If you're a graduate student in science with a tech-based business idea and want to learn more about entrepreneurship, please feel free to contact MUNTech at MUNTech@mun.ca.