Entrepreneurial Engines of Economic Growth around the World
Edited by Jerome S. Engel
Chapter 14: NCIIA: students as the vanguard in a geographically dispersed approach to stimulating science and technology innovation
In this chapter we describe a geographically dispersed approach to stimulating science and technology based economic development that focuses on the expansion of human capital, the enabling of science and technology entrepreneurs and the creation of novel products and ventures based on new discoveries and innovations. Efficiently connecting the education and research enterprises of higher education creates an engine for training innovators while fostering the creation of new products and businesses. The key to this approach is coupling experiential models for learning the process of commercialization to opportunities to actually pursue very early stage commercialization activities within an educational context. When done well, this results in a powerful model for developing science and technology entrepreneurs and moving their ideas rapidly forward. The geographic dispersion of the over 4000 public and nonprofit universities and colleges across the United States creates an opportunity for broad impact in a very diverse range of settings. For most institutions the primary focus is not on strictly local economic development objectives but rather, as is the case with the university’s educational objectives, to prepare people for successful contribution to society wherever they may wind up. By seeding entrepreneurial education and experience widely across the United States through structured programs and catalytic support, universities can increase the economic productivity of their research innovation and equip scientists and entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, networks and experience to address the emerging needs of society in an economically productive way.
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