The network effect as a business model for ROC

Warning! This post is very old and may contain information or opinions that are no longer valid or embarrassing.

First, some of you already know what is ROC. I wrote about it here. In a few words it is a volunteer driven undergraduate medical research course that aims to help medical students learn proper scientific research skills and qualify as research assistants.

As we are in desperate need for proper funding. I think we need to come up with a sort of "business model". Although we don't aim any profits. We aim to be very valuable. So after surfing the wide web. The network effect is probably the most appropriate. The wikipedia article heavily inspired what is written below to the extent that it could be considered a derivative work.

The network effect will cause ROC to have a value to a potential funding agency depending on the number of ROC graduates. The total value of ROC will be proportional to the number of ROC graduates and current students.

The result is that if one ROC graduate is employed somewhere (for the skills she learned in ROC) will indirectly benefit other graduates and students of ROC. This side-effect will create a positive feedback loop. Since one ROC graduate learned skills that are useful for someone, other graduates are potentially useful for others.

This network effect will become significant when a certain number of ROC graduates are employed according to skills they have learned in ROC. They will form a critical mass. At this point the value obtained from ROC will be greater than or equal to the price paid for this service.

Another side-effect might be more professors willing to be part of this successful team.

This means that after a certain number of ROC graduates are employed according to their skill. Additional students will apply to ROC.

However, since ROC doesn't have an infinite capacity it will not be able to enroll each and every applicant. The eligibility criteria will help select the students that would be of best benefit to the whole.

In this model, a tipping point will eventually be reached at which the network effects of ROC will dominate those of the existing incumbent educational system. The current educational system will be forced into a decline as a potential source of highly skilled graduates and ROC will take over the position. Or at least would be an important player.

What do you think ? I am no businees student, so I might be totally wrong. Some of you might be more skilled in this area or at least might have some ideas.