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Voinovich School founding partner in I-Corps@Ohio program to accelerate commercialization of university research


July 14, 2015

In an effort to accelerate commercialization of research at Ohio’s universities, the Ohio Department of Higher Education is launching the I-Corps@Ohio program, modeled after a similar program launched by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2012.  Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs is serving as a founding member of the governing board.

“Over the past three years, Ohio University’s Voinovich School has helped with the state’s adoption of the I-Corp model. I-Corp@Ohio is a big advance for Ohio's statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem and for the University System of Ohio, as well as for us here at Ohio University.  The multi-university collaboration is truly next generation,” Lynn Gellermann, Executive Director of TechGROWTH Ohio and the OHIO Center for Entrepreneurship, said.

The I-Corps@Ohio program provides hands-on training to Ohio faculty and students in the Lean Launchpad Business Model Canvas process, which helps evaluate market need and commercial potential of proposed technologies. Teams will then be able to make market-based judgments on the potential fit of their technologies with customer needs and make informed decisions on whether to go forward with startup companies or other forms of technology commercialization.

The I-Corps@Ohio program plans to train 50 to 60 faculty teams over a period of three years.  The I-Corps@Ohio summer 2015 cohort has been announced, with teams representing The Ohio State University, the University of Akron, Ohio State – Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Case Western Reserve University.

The program is governed by a board of representatives from the Ohio Department of Higher Education and six collaborating Ohio academic institutions: Ohio University; University of Akron; University of Cincinnati; Lorain County Community College; The Ohio State University; and University of Toledo.

“I want to congratulate our participating universities for taking this first step toward better commercializing our research,” Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor John Carey said.

Ohio is the first to have a statewide collaboration based on the NSF model, but fully funded by the state. Although the state of Ohio ranks high in terms of university research, officials have said that the ranking in terms of commercializing the results of that research should be higher. Implementation of an I-Corps@Ohio program is a key step in addressing the state’s commercialization challenges.