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October 09, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Vanderbilt leading new NIH Mid-South Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub

Known by the acronym REACH, the $12 million program hub spans Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Virginia.

Vanderbilt University’s Robert Webster and Charleson Bell have been awarded $12 million to establish and manage the Mid-South Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub.

Roughly one-third of the funding comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with more than $8 million in additional matching funds from partnering universities, state economic development entities, and public-private partnerships. 

Known by the acronym REACH, the program was established by NIH to focus on bringing basic science discoveries to market by providing: 

  • Entrepreneurial training for innovators on how to bring technologies to market;
  • Feedback from federal and industry experts; 
  • Funding to support early stage product definition studies; and
  • Project management support.

The hub spans a four-state network (Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and Virginia), and entrepreneurs from any university in those states are eligible to apply.

Webster, who is Richard A. Schroeder Professor of Mechanical Engineering and faculty affiliate with the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering (VISE), will lead the overall hub, which will run within VISE. Bell, Director of Entrepreneurship and Biomedical Innovation at the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center, will lead Tennessee operations. He is also Director of the new National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Mid-South I-Corps Hub based at the Wond’ry.

Click here to learn more about the program.


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