In West Virginia, there is a deep and broad talent base of STEM scholars and scientists working at dozens of highly respected public and private institutions of higher education. Collectively their work and expertise is equal to the productivity of a large research university. Predominately, these Mountain State institutions focus on teaching, but their faculty executes research and fulfills publication requirements for tenure and promotion. That work – what Vanevar Bush called “additions to the laws of nature” – could produce job-creating ideas for West Virginia if the right idea meets the business expertise and investments to move forward.
West Virginia’s premier technology-based economic development initiative – TechConnectWV, with support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the WV Higher Education Policy Commission and West Virginia and Marshall Universities, has created a new way for researchers at public and private institutions of higher education to evolve research into products, industries and jobs. The effort is called the Innovation Transfer Consortium or ITC. Its goal is to connect West Virginia colleges and universities with commercialization resources.
ITC will introduce researchers to business experts and demonstrate to the business community that great ideas are consistently being generated all across the state by the researchers of West Virginia institutions of higher education. ITC, composed of representatives of colleges and universities, economic development organizations, regional businesses and potential investors, will stimulate applied research, innovation and commercialization.
ITC’s Seed Grant Program for Research and Commercial Partnering
A critical and immediate function of ITC will be the establishment and execution of a Seed Grant Program for Research and Commercial Partnering that will provide small matching research grants of $5,000 each for “close-to-commercialization” projects involving partnerships between institutions and the private sector. Teams of experts will review application proposals and make final decisions. The effort will enlighten both research faculty and business representatives to the concept of collaboration for commercialization and help encourage vetted projects to move forward.
The First Step
TechConnectWV respectfully requests that your institution take the first step in putting research to work for West Virginia economic development and join the consortium by:
- Making use of ITC services, including the Seed Grant Program
- Marketing and promoting ITC and its benefits through inclusion in the Consortium’s promotional materials
- Appointing an advisory panel to advise the future direction of the initiative
- Providing information about institutional and faculty strength areas
- Linking to ITC’s web presence on institutional web sites
TechConnectWV will follow up and maintain communications with all participating ITC members and help guide future ITC initiatives and activities.
For more information about ITC and how to participate, contact TechConnect Executive Director Anne Barth, (304) 444-2918 or email@example.com.