Connect with the IDEA Center

Author: Karen Deak

We are writing to share some exciting news regarding the IDEA Center at Notre Dame. As you may know, the activities previously conducted by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship have been moved to the IDEA Center. The IDEA Center is now the one-stop shop for everything related to entrepreneurship and commercialization of ideas with Notre Dame DNA. Our team serves our students, faculty, staff, and alumni as they seek to commercialize their ideas.

The IDEA Center is also the home for cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship education at Notre Dame. ESTEEM is now part of the IDEA Center and we will soon be launching a campus-wide undergraduate minor in the Fall of 2018. In addition, we will now be housing the McCloskey business plan competition and will jointly run the competition with the Mendoza College of Business.

We look forward to serving our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and hope that you will be willing to help us in that mission. The IDEA Center’s technology development and derisking process, the Engine, is based on receiving timely advice from industry experts – we can’t possibly know everything about the market and IP landscape for every technology that comes through our doors.  The good news is that, among all the members of the Notre Dame family, we do have access to that knowledge. And that is why we’re asking for your help.

You can engage with us in many ways. We need people who are willing occasionally to take a short phone call from one of our team members, as he or she gathers data about one of our technologies; or people who will open your rolodex as we look for experts who we could call. We need people who are willing to serve as board members, or perhaps founders, for our newly-formed startup companies. We need connections to capital and institutional investors. We, and our students, need mentors.

If you are willing to help us, please connect with us, and tell us how you’d like to be involved.


Finally, we’d like to introduce the leadership team of the IDEA Center:

Bryan Ritchie, PhD, joined Notre Dame in February 2017 as the new Vice-President for Innovation. He is responsible for all aspects of the IDEA Center.

James Thompson, MS, is the new Associate Vice President for Innovation, and is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the IDEA Center as well as the Commercialization Team.

Karen Deak, PhD, is the Director for Network Engagement, and you should think of her as your concierge for connecting to the IDEA Center.

Karen Slaggert, MBA, has joined the IDEA Center as Director of Student Entrepreneurship.  She will manage all programs, initiatives, competitions and opportunities for aspiring student entrepreneurs.

David Murphy, MBA, is the Associate Dean of Entrepreneurship in the College of Engineering, and Director of ESTEEM. He oversees all aspects of these students’ entrepreneurship education.

Natalie Stahl, MBA, is the Director of Innovation Park. She is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the buildings, and is currently managing the construction of the second building at Innovation Park, Quinn Family Hall.

Nick Swisher is the Director of Marketing and Communications.

Lori Lancour is the Director of Operations.


We look forward to working with you!