Science Market Update
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is a major research institution, ranked among the top five nationally in spending, according to NSF statistics. Yet in today's economy, having funding and prestige is not enough: the future lies in getting research out into the world, and increasingly the way to do this is through strong entrepreneurship. To build those science marketing skills, UM has developed a Master's degree program in Entrepreneurial Education that combines coursework from the business and engineering schools to teach creative young business-scientists how to "give their inventions legs."
Charlottesville may be home to the University of Virginia and no less than two research parks, but the big news in biotech development this week is that a former Coca-Cola bottling plant in town is being repurposed as state-of-the-art labs. The company undertaking this feat is Indoor Biotechnologies, and they are expanding their presence in Charlottesville with the purchase of the Coca-Cola building, as well as opening opportunities for other biotech companies to lease space (including wet labs) in the 38,000 square foot facility. The building has been rechristened the CityCampus Biotechnology Center, but it will probably always be the Coca-Cola plant to locals, who are very excited to see the familiar building take on new life.
Relations between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the state's business sector have undergone a wholesale reversal from 30 years ago, when academic researchers were discouraged from starting up companies and the school's idea of a research park was a farm. Today, Madison's University Research Park is a thriving business center, start-up incubator, and campus extension all in one. And faculty are now actively encouraged to go into business, even given the resources to do so. Intellectual licensing brings in a lot of money to the state, and companies bring jobs that pay well.
In the world of sustainable energy production and good environmental stewardship, Ohio is producing biogas from agricultural and food-processing waste through a successful partnership between the state university and business. The Cleveland based Quasar Energy Group is working in collaboration with Ohio State's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) to turn 550,000 gallons of biomatter into energy at its flagship anaerobic digester at the OARDC's BioHio Research Park.
If you're a business entrepreneur considering the University of Illinois' Research Park as a location for your start-up, you may stumble upon the micro-urban video above. If you do, and the video does what it's supposed to, you'll want to relocate to the Champaign-Urbana area. Because it is smart and innovative, fast-paced, young, brimming with movers and shakers, and your average commute time will be 14 minutes.
In fact, the Research Park and the micro-urban video are both efforts to link the university with the growing industrial research market that profits from its proximity to university resources and in turn offers job opportunities and tax revenues to the larger C-U community.
Universities have always been incubators for business development to some degree, and business parks that have sprung up in campus towns have been especially popular with start-ups. What is new in the past decade is the development of research parks by the universities themselves, on university land, with clear links to the academic institution and even its business school.
In 2008, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF, Keith Yamamoto, was asked to participate in a scientific consortium to present a report to Congress. The topic of that report was The New Biology, and it was sponsored by NSF, NIH, and the DOE. The consortium was known formally as the Committee on A New Biology for the 21st Century: Ensuring the United States leads the Coming Biology Revolution. The report was presented to Congress in August, 2009 and is an extraordinarily forward-thinking plan to meet the challenges of supporting the planet in the 21st Century by applying scientific insights. (See press link below.)
On February 22, 2011, Dean of the Duke University School of Medicine, Nancy Andrews, M.D., Ph.D., gave her State of the School Address. Part 4 of that speech was devoted to Duke's "Commitment to Research Infrastructure." The full text of that section of the speech is available in the transcription below, or on the original video.
(Photo courtesy of Duke University)
UCSB's Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM) was launched in August 2009 with $19million in funding from the Dept. of Basic Energy Sciences, a branch of the DOE. CEEM's mission is to help solve some of the world's most pressing energy problems, drawing on UCSB's strength in materials science research.