UofL, UK join regional innovation hub with $15M in funding – The Business Journals

The University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and seven other partners will receive $15 million to provide experiential entrepreneurial training to academic researchers across all fields of science and engineering through a new regional initiative called I-Corps.
The $15 million comes from the National Science foundation and will be doled out over the course of five years. Other institutions selected for the hub include: Vanderbilt University, George Mason University, Jackson State University, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee – Knoxville and University of Virginia.
The newly funded I-Corps hubs will join five others funded last year to serve national needs through the following areas of responsibility:
“UK Innovate is proud to partner with these eight other incredible universities and their innovation and entrepreneurship leaders to form the Mid-South I-Corps Hub. We are grateful to the NSF for choosing our inclusive innovation corridor,” said Ian McClure, UK associate vice president for research, innovation and economic impact and executive director of UK Innovate, in a news release.
“As a partner in this hub — one of the first 10 hubs under the new NSF I-Corps model — we aim to reduce the time and risk associated with translating promising ideas and technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to train NSF-funded faculty, students, postdocs and other researchers in innovation and entrepreneurship skills,” McClure continued. “Through experiential learning of customer and industry discovery, coupled with firsthand investigation of industrial problems and processes, the I-Corps program is meant to assess and advance the translational potential of deep-tech inventions quickly. We look forward to working with our UK innovators in these efforts.”
UofL’s role in the new hub follows years of leadership as a member of NSF’s I-Corps Site Program, according to a news release from the university. UofL was named an I-Corps Site in 2015, the first in Kentucky, and has since awarded product development training and microgrants to more than 250 innovative faculty, staff and students.
Those awards have supported the creation of at least 16 new companies, eight intellectual property licensing agreements and more than $8 million in follow-on funding secured to further product development, the release continued.
“As a top-tier, Carnegie Research 1 university, UofL has a strong track record as a driver of technological innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Kevin Gardner, executive vice president for research and innovation, in the release.
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