On April 24 the members of the Faculty Council approved a proposal to change the name of the Standing Committee on Higher Degrees in Systems Biology to the Standing Committee on Higher Degrees in Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology. They also approved preliminary versions of Courses of Instruction for 2019–20 and of the University Extension School courses for 2019–20. Finally, they approved changes to the Handbook for Students for 2019–20.The last regular meeting of the Faculty will be on May 7.
“It is prescribed that the original bottle with the label “Varaždinsko bučino uje” may only be filled with 100 percent pure premium oil, which the members of the Association continuously monitor and measure, and no other brand in Croatia has that. We gained added value through protection and achieved three important goals. Varaždin pumpkin oil has become recognizable, the market demand for it has increased, and the price of this indigenous premium quality product has also increased.”Pointed out the prefect Čačić. It is expected that within 1,5 to two years, the name Varaždin pumpkin oil will be protected throughout the EU. For manufacturers of geographical indications at national level, it means added value for their product. Varaždin County accounts for as much as 25 percent of the total production of pumpkin oil in Croatia, and more than 1 percent at the EU level. On December 12, 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture issued a decision on national protection, which successfully completed the procedure initiated last year by the Varaždin Pumpkin Oil Association and Varaždin County. “This decision of the relevant ministry is the crown of two years of work on branding our pumpkin seed oil. For a year and a half, the Administrative Department for Agriculture and Rural Development and the association worked on extensive documentation which now proves that Varaždin pumpkin oil is a unique product of exceptional quality.”Said Prefect Radimir Čačić at a press conference at the County Palace held today, January 9. Let us add that Varaždin County now has seven products that are already under one of the forms of protection in the European Union and / or in Croatia. In addition to Varaždin pumpkin oil, these are: Varaždin cabbage, Zagorje turkey, Zagorje mills, Varaždin klipič, Zagorje štruklji and Zagorje acacia honey. “Varaždin pumpkin oil” is protected by a geographical indication at the level of the Republic of Croatia, which made it the first pumpkin oil with this type of protection. The protection of Varaždin pumpkin oil is based on traditional production, which in Varaždin County, according to historical records, began 150 years ago, while the tradition of using Varaždin pumpkin oil in the diet dates back to the 18th century. “For producers, the protection of Varaždin pumpkin oil is very important. We believe that the demand will be much higher, because Varaždin pumpkin oil is already a food without which any salad is unthinkable today. It is very important to continuously educate customers and teach them quality, because we, the producers gathered in the association, pay special attention to quality. The impetus to protect our premium and 100 percent pure oils was the emergence of products of very low prices and catastrophic quality. Now there will be a stamp with prominent protection on the original bottle so that people will know exactly what they are buying. People have become interested in production because they see that there is a future and that the consumption of Varaždin pumpkin oil is increasing”Pointed out the president of the Varaždin Pumpkin Seed Oil Association Matija Patrčević. Photo: Varaždin Pumpkin Seed Oil Association
Viterbi’s Venture Incubation Program, created to help USC students develop their ideas from startups into innovative companies, has recently announced this year’s 11 teams. These entrepreneurs will be given tools to build prototypes, receive funding and effectively grow their businesses.Founded last year, VIP is a student-run incubator for tech startups that is open to all current USC students. It provides its teams with technical support, mentors and a co-working space, in addition to industry guest speakers. Participants need to be committed to their startups, which at the outset of the program varies from early-stage business plans to fully-launched companies.VIP is located in the USC Hacker House on Adams Boulevard, where groups have access to workspace five days a week as well as a suite of technologies at their fingertips, such as 3D printing, virtual reality and motion sensors. Teams are paired with mentors that give feedback and advice on anything from product development to investor presentations.VIP seeks to foster a collaborative environment between teams, creating a community of like-minded innovators. Participants have frequent opportunities to provide feedback and suggestions to other teams, with an emphasis on collective success rather than competition.“We think of our [VIP’s] environment as more of a community than other incubators,” said Natalie Riso, vice president of marketing for VIP. “We have monthly dinners where teams talk about their current struggles and successes together and how they overcame different obstacles.”VIP also hosts speakers often to connect groups with industry leaders, who share their professional experiences with students. Past speakers have included tech mogul Evan Spiegel, founder of Snapchat, and Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit.Last year, VIP’s inaugural cohort boasted the largest percentage of its teams that received funding of all USC incubator programs. After VIP, startups go on to continue cultivating their products and services, receive financial support from venture capitalists or operate as an independent business. EnvoyNow, a popular app where students can order food for delivery from local restaurants, was selected for VIP last year.HostelPass, a participant in VIP, is a startup that provides travelers an easy method for booking hostels while on the go and won last year’s “1000 Pitches” competition.“Everyone in the VIP program has incredible ideas,” said Sarah Weingust, a senior majoring in psychology and a partner with HostelPass, in an email to the Daily Trojan. “I am excited to see how far we come collectively and individually through this process.”Trakfire was also chosen to participate in VIP this year. Trakfire provides a platform where undiscovered artists have the opportunity to post their music and receive feedback from users via an upvote polling system. Music industry giant Jimmy Iovine serves as a mentor for the Trakfire team, and Troy Carter from the popular television show Shark Tank featured Trakfire as one of the top startups on his tech accelerator, SMASHD.VIP is also working to create its first ever Startup Career Fair in February. Open to the public, attendees will be able to visit teams’ booths to learn about their companies and available job opportunities.“The Venture Incubation Program is the newest and most comprehensive technology incubator in the USC ecosystem,” Riso said. “We strive to take and create companies that are ready for success regardless of their education level or specific industry.”The program is currently accepting applications on a rolling basis, and interested students can visit VIP’s website or Facebook page for more information on applying.