As part of its ongoing effort to help member institutions magnify their economic impact, APLU recently announced finalists for its 2019 Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards. The awards honor institutions performing exemplary work to advance the economic wellbeing of their states, regions, and the nation through a variety of efforts. In this post, APLU spotlights The University of Michigan and the University of South Florida, finalists in the “Innovation” IEP Awards category, for their exemplary initiatives spurring innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-based economic development. One of the finalists will be named the Innovation category award winner Sunday, November 10 in San Diego, California during the APLU Annual Meeting.
The University of Michigan has launched a set of programs to help spur innovation and startup creation. Its Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP) launched in 2015 to help emerging companies overcome common challenges – such as providing research, development, and testing support – so entrepreneurs have what they need to succeed.
The program connects companies to researchers and labs at the state’s public universities, which often have facilities and expertise that companies desperately need but are unable to identify or afford. The program’s team identifies university research partners and co-funds projects statewide through a network of 15 public universities called the Michigan Corporate Relations Network. SCIP project managers build relationships with tech transfer and business engagement professionals as well as STEM academics at most universities who can assist companies with engagement of an appropriate faculty member. Student research associates provide competitive landscape analysis for the client, which also helps inform the program’s funding decisions.
SCIP is funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and administered by the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute. To date, SCIP has facilitated 80 collaborative projects involving nearly 70 companies that led to over $1.7 million in awards.
The University of South Florida (USF) worked with community partners to drive development in the underutilized center of downtown Tampa. The city’s downtown long suffered from urban sprawl and a central business district disconnected from growing residential areas. Working with community partners, USF Health’s new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute is anchoring the construction of Water Street Tampa – a $3 billion urban business, innovation, residential and tourist destination.
Once completed in late 2019, the new USF medical education and research building will host world-class labs, advanced experiential learning spaces, and research facilities. The medical school will help cultivate growth in the area with an estimated 2,275 faculty, researchers, staff and students. Highly skilled young professionals will help attract companies in health, science, and technology as well as a host of service sector businesses aiming to cater to the faculty and students’ living and working needs. Covering the development, Politico Magazine noted that “the USF med school as an anchor…help[ing] seed the place with an estimated 2,275 faculty, researchers, staff and students…This is the kind of partnership that has helped remake cities such as Roanoke and Winston-Salem, both of which drew substantial investments from nearby universities and research institutions.”