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March 04, 2024 | Tom Ballard

UT Research Foundation names first Entrepreneurial Fellow

Tanner Hobson, a recent graduate of UT, Knoxville with a Ph.D. in computer science, has been selected for the new program.

The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) has named its inaugural Entrepreneurial Fellow.

Created out of the Venture Launch Program, the Entrepreneurial Fellow Program seeks to retain talented individuals in the region and invigorate the innovation ecosystem through work on projects that lead to deep tech start-ups.

“UTRF provides fellows with stipends to advance their technologies, and they receive business mentorship from the Executives-in-Residence (EIR) Program,” said UTRF President Maha Krishnamurthy. “Critically, Fellows will focus solely on developing a minimum viable product (MVP) during this fellowship.”

The first Fellow is Tanner Hobson, a recent graduate of UT, Knoxville with a Ph.D. in computer science. He applied for the program after his advisor, Jian Huang, a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, wanted him to make his technology ready for licensing.

Over the next few months, Hobson will solely focus on developing the MVP for the artificial intelligence (AI)-based system to make big data in Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) highly usable to hospitals, nonprofits, and grant-giving foundations to improve health equity. The system will let users ask or pose questions in natural language and respond to AI-driven predictions and visualizations of the result.

“This work is so different than the academic world. We’re seeking the intersection of innovation and commercial viability,” said Hobson. “It’s been great having the support from UTRF to understand how to develop a product based on my Ph.D. work.”

You can learn more about Hobson and his goals here.



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