With ten major research universities, a growing capital market sector, and local entrepreneurial culture, Nashville and Middle Tennessee possess key assets for creating a major innovation hub with global markets.
The October 2019 Tennessee University-Business Showcase examined the value and role of university research and tech transfer as key agents in creating prosperity in their local regional economies. The program provided a national framework of over 25 emerging innovation hubs around the nation and identified national grants, programs, and opportunities from the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the EDA, US Department of Commerce and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to support innovation economic development in Middle Tennessee.
In addition, the program illustrated three concrete examples of successful university engagement in regional economic strategy—namely,economic engagement at Ohio State University in the Columbus, Ohio economy; the economic development role of the University of Kentucky in Lexington and across the state of Kentucky, and initiatives of Tennessee State University in Nashville and regional rural areas.
Moderator: Jennifer Caldwell, Group Leader, Technology Commercialization, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Emily Miller, Policy Advisor for Strategic Initiatives,Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Economic Development Agency
Ian McClure, Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), University of Kentucky Research
Scott Osborne, Vice President, Corporate Engagement Office, The Ohio State University
John Barfield, Director of Engagement and Visibility, Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, Tennessee State University
Some key take-aways from the program include the following:
Ø Regional innovation hubs are the drivers of thenational and global economies and universities are major drivers of innovation in these regional hubs.
Ø Regional innovation hubs draw their strength from
o the clustered industries in their ecosystem;
o the inventiveness of the local population;
o access to local capital; and
o the level of engagement with the region’s universities.
Ø Research universities should take a leadership role in creating regional economic strategy and in creating regional economic growth.
Ø Universities can use cluster analysis to identify opportunities for new research and for economic impact. [ME(1] [SM2] [SM3]
Ø Network effects and collaboration among area research universities are critical for local economic impact and growth.
Ø Providing a complete local pipeline of capital from concept to Series A funding is necessary for serial new business formation in local economies.
Ø States, municipalities, and university endowments can help design and fund the local capital pipeline.
Ø University alumni networks offer access to capital and management expertise that may be missing in a local ecosystem;these can be leveraged to recruit capital and expertise back into the university’s regional economy.
Ø Matching university expertise with the right outside management expertise is as important as access to capital for successful local business formation.
Ø Educational programs at research universities are encouraging students to become entrepreneurs in the local community, rather than simply job seekers.
Ø Urban universities can leverage their researchcapacity to assist rural economic development in the region around theuniversity and urban center.
Ø Tech transfer and university-led economic development can support more inclusive prosperity in its region through special certificate programs, targeted workforce training, and flexible degree offerings, as well as creation of jobs across the skills spectrum.
The following links provide access to grants, programs, andmodels to build successful university engagement in local economic development.
US. Department of Commerce, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Regional Innovation Strategies Program
Two annual grant competitions:
The US Cluster Mapping Tool, led byHarvard Business School and funded by the U.S. Economic DevelopmentAdministration, offers a great first step to conducting cluster analysis: http://www.clustermapping.us/
Global Action Platform is aregional affiliate of Porter’s Institute and brings special access, expertise,and interpretation to this cluster mapping resource for Middle Tennessee.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Innovation Crossroads: https://innovationcrossroads.ornl.gov/
DOE TTWG Licensing Guide: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/2019-02/LicensingGuide.pdf
DOE TTWG Partnering Guide: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/2019-02/TTWG_Partnering_Guide.pdf
University of Kentucky
UK OTC - https://www.research.uky.edu/office-technology-commercialization
Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3) - http://c3.kyinnovation.com/
Executives-on-Roster (XOR) - https://www.research.uky.edu/office-technology-commercialization/executives-roster-xor
NIGMS SE IDeA Tech Transfer HUB program - https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Research/mechanisms/Pages/STTR-Regional-Technology-Transfer.aspx (our SE Hub websitewill be launched next month)
ColumbiaLab-to-Market Accelerator Network - https://techventures.columbia.edu/inventors/columbia-lab-market-accelerator-network
The Ohio State University
TheOhio IP Promise
OhioEntrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) Program
Rev1Ventures (one of the six regionalESP’s)
Tennessee State University
TSU Research and SponsoredPrograms
The Center for Entrepreneurshipand Economic Development (CEED)
Tennessee State UniversityExecutive MBA Program
[ME(1]TheUS Cluster Mapping Tool, led by Harvard Business School and funded by the U.S.Economic Development Administration, offers a great first step to conductingcluster analysis: http://www.clustermapping.us/
[SM2]Totallyagree. GAP is an affiliate of Porter’s Institute and has been promoting the useof this info here.