Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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April 18, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News 2 | Florida State secures nearly $100 million for major research project

The University of California, Berkeley has selected its first-ever Chief Officer of Innovation and Entrepreneurship as the institution's next Chancellor.

From Florida State University:

Triumph Gulf Coast Inc., a nonprofit corporation organized to oversee the expenditure of 75 percent of all funds recovered by the Florida Attorney General for economic damages to the state that resulted from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has given the final sign-off on a project that will give Florida State University $98.4 million to build advanced manufacturing and aerospace facilities in Bay County. That’s the county seat of Panama City.

Under the agreement, Florida State will invest another $65 million over the next 10 years to build the Institute for Strategic Partnerships, Innovation, Research and Education. The university has also committed to securing more than $235 million in grant funding. Initial economic projections suggest that for every $1 spent on the project, $10 in economic activity will be generated.  

“INSPIRE or the Innovation for Strategic Partnerships for Innovation, Research, and Education is truly a transformational concept,” said Stacey Patterson, Florida State’s Vice President for Research. “We think it provides the foundation for FSU to better serve the needs required to fuel this innovation economy and will serve as a beacon to attract others to the region. The impact will be felt for decades to come.”

INSPIRE will include operations within or near the Northwest Florida Beaches Airport and adjacent Venture Crossings Technology Park. The facilities constructed as part of the institute will be designed to accommodate both secure and open contract and grant work for the aerospace and defense industries.

From the University of California, Berkeley:

Rich Lyons, an established economist, former dean of the Haas School of Business, and the campus’ current leader for innovation and entrepreneurship, will become the next Chancellor at the University of California (UC), Berkeley.

The UC Board of Regents unanimously confirmed him, making Lyons the first UC Berkeley undergraduate alumnus since 1930 to become the campus’s top leader. When he succeeds current Chancellor Carol Christ on July 1, he will become UC, Berkeley’s 12th person to hold the position.

After being associated with UC, Berkeley for most of his career, Lyons became Berkeley’s first-ever Chief Officer of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in January 2020. Building on his research exploring how leaders drive innovation and set behavioral norms and culture, Lyons worked to expand and champion the University’s rich portfolio of innovation and entrepreneurship activities for the benefit of students, faculty, staff, startups and external partners.

It was a major commitment to thinking outside the box, he said. In a news release announcing Lyons selection, UC, Berkeley cited the Berkeley Changemaker program that he helped launch in 2020 to see innovation and entrepreneurship in action.

From Colgate University:

Founded in 2009, the University’s Thought Into Action (TIA) program exists to guide students in their entrepreneurial efforts and work alongside them from the development of their first idea to the creation of a viable venture. The program works closely with students, offering support through mentors, monetary funds and more. Through its main two programs, TIA places itself within entrepreneurial and innovation efforts at Colgate and serves as a vital addition to the liberal arts education.

The Thought Into Action Incubator takes place during the academic year. While it is a year-long program, students can be accepted on a rolling basis. The program aims to guide students from the creation of their venture ideas to an end result, which is typically a viable business, but changes depending on what the venture decides to focus on. For example, software-based ventures, such as those designing their own video game, may take longer than those focused on developing physical goods.

A new side of the Incubator that was piloted this year is called the Idea Squad, and is intended for students who wish to be involved with the program but are still unsure of their direction for starting a venture. Through activities and mentorship, students generated ideas for the program or joined other ventures.

In addition to the Incubator, the other component is the TIA Summer Accelerator which is an option for students to focus on the development of their ventures. The Summer Accelerator differs, however, because it is more selective, only choosing four or five ventures to each receive a stipend of $10,000.

From Mississippi State University (MSU):

The University’s newest research institute, known as the Athlete Engineering Institute, is changing the game for human performance and new technologies. Approved earlier this year by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, the interdisciplinary research program has spent the last several years making an impact in sports science, industry, military, rehabilitation, and technology sectors.

“Athlete Engineering is a great example of the culture we are building where faculty members can work across disciplines to make a broader impact,” said MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan. “I am excited to see this research program continue to grow as it moves under the umbrella of a stand-alone institute.”

MSU’s athlete engineering research began with collaborations among faculty members in the Departments of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Kinesiology, as well as the School of Human Sciences, primarily focused on wearable devices for collecting performance data. It has since grown into a team comprising more than 30 affiliated faculty, staff, and students.

From Johns Hopkins University:

The University paid tribute to alum and EcoMap Technologies Co-Founder Pava Marie LaPere by rededicating the institution’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub in her name. Formerly known as FastForward U, the Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship will continue LaPere’s legacy of supporting student ventures and innovations. Prior to her dealth in September 2023, she was known as a vocal champion of entrepreneurship, both at Johns Hopkins and in the greater Baltimore community. LaPere was also an advocate for giving student entrepreneurs a physical space to work.

From St. Petersburg College:

In the past year, the College has launched specialty tracks in two degrees, expanded the avenues to earn academic credit for business and life experience, known as experiential learning, and created niche certificates where there is great demand.

When the fall semester starts, the College will launch the bachelor’s level Corporate Entrepreneurship Advanced Technical Certificate and the Green Innovations and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate. The former certificate program will give students the know-how to innovate within existing, traditional organizational frameworks, turning them into “intrapreneurs.” The Green Innovations and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate leans heavily into social enterprises and got its start during a summer sustainability program funded by a $25,000 VentureWell grant, awarded to colleges to expand and strengthen STEM innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

St. Petersburg College also launched Titan Venture XLP, a business incubator that partners with Gibbs High School’s Business, Entrepreneurial, Technology Academy in St. Petersburg. Funded by a $100,000 Entrepreneurship Education and Training Grant from the Florida Department of Education, Titan Venture XLP provides mentorship and business lessons to students, who can earn 12 to 18 college credits for their business ideas and practical experience.


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