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SSTI Award Winners Blaze Onward: Library Space, STEM Grants and Tech Commercialization

September 26, 2013

On the heels of their big win last week in Portland, OR, SSTI’s 2013 Excellence in TBED award winners have announced more exciting news surrounding their programs’ impact and new initiatives to support regional growth strategies. This year’s winner for Most Promising TBED Initiative, ASU Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group (EIG), has attracted a new partner to expand on their model for entrepreneurial support by repurposing existing library space. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center announced nearly $200,000 in grants for STEM education as they continue to improve the competitiveness of the life sciences sector, and in Utah, two impact reports have been released by partners of USTAR detailing progress made to expand research capacity.


Gordon McConnell, Assistant Vice President for Innovation
and Entrepreneurship at ASU

The city of Phoenix soon may partner with the Alexandria Co-working Network, a program of ASU EIG, to turn another library into space for entrepreneurs. Called EUREKA spaces, these areas provide access to experienced mentors from ASU’s network alongside physical and digital access from the libraries. Classes taught by practitioners from ASU’s Rapid Startup School also are available. The areas are marketed to entrepreneurs who are not necessarily coders or techies by nature, or who do not live in tech clusters where co-working spaces often are located.

In Phoenix, the Burton Barr Central Library has earmarked $85,000 to repurpose the second floor into EUREKA space, which is approximately 2,500 square feet, reports the Downtown Devil. ASU will train library staff, bring in the mentors and work collaboratively with the library on programming, the article states. The city of Phoenix will provide equipment, reference books and additional staff. This model of repurposing existing libraries, which are free and open to the public, into usable space with resources for companies to grow their businesses, was recognized for its innovative approach and helped the organization win SSTI’s national award for excellence.

ASU also recently announced the Mayo Clinic will join Arizona Furnace, the startup accelerator that supports entrepreneurial teams. Read the news release: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11131376.htm.


Susan Windham-Bannister, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

Five organizations working to enhance STEM education and diversity received grants totaling nearly $200,000 from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to improve programming. MLSC has identified expanded access to quality STEM education as an important workforce development priority under the state’s 10-year, $1 billion life sciences initiative. Some of the recipients include the Boston Children’s Museum to support a pilot project for developing a Maker Lab program with creative space for exploring science topics, and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Their grant of $30,000 will provide STEM-related activities to girls in underserved communities. Read the complete list of recipients.

MLSC was recognized by SSTI as a national model of best practice for providing a strategic, comprehensive blueprint for increasing competiveness by developing strong partnerships between academia, industry and public organizations.


Ted McAleer, Executive Director of USTAR

Two of USTAR’s university partners recently released reports detailing the impact on tech commercialization and entrepreneurship over the past year. The report from the University of Utah’s (U of U) Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Office features success stories, many of which involve USTAR researchers. The second report from the U of U’s Technology and Venture Commercialization Office provides impressive commercialization statistics. In FY13, 212 invention disclosures were submitted to the tech commercialization office and 88 U.S. patents were issued. As a result, 17 startups were formed based on university technologies.

With USTAR’s help, the universities hired dozens of top researchers and helped build new infrastructure for R&D, according to the reports. USTAR was the winner in Expanding Research Capacity by skillfully connecting private, public and higher education assets in the state.

Look for podcasts with the 2013 award winners early next year. In the meantime, listen to short interviews with helpful tips from all 32 past winners: http://www.sstiawards.org/podcasts/index.html.

Learn more about all of 2013 winners: http://www.sstiawards.org/2013.html.

Arizona, Massachusetts, Utahssti, stem, entrepreneurship