Best Practices

How Do Universities Participate in the Innovation Economy?

Published Jan 20, 2012

That’s a question that’s sparked the interest of political leaders, entrepreneurs, economic developers and civic champions—from the Office of the President of the United States through local communities.  We’re all looking for the best ways to tap the resources in our universities and bring their research, education and community service to the innovation economy. 

In the past 10 years, in fact, entrepreneurship coursework has grown exponentially in the U.S. higher education system. With that growth, we’ve also seen an increased emphasis in connecting local communities to both the students and the research embedded in these institutions to drive innovation and new business. 

To further examine this trend, the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer surveyed vice presidents of research and deans of the schools of medicine, business and engineering at the top 200 research universities to further understand their institution’s engagement in the economy. 

The Presidents-Investors Summit Survey on Innovation and Entrepreneurship asked participants 54 questions about their schools’ engagement in innovation and entrepreneurship to capture a baseline of best practices in technology transfer, entrepreneurship and economic engagement on campus and in communities. 

Among the results, the survey revealed that of the schools and communities surveyed:

  • 71.4% offered innovation/entrepreneurship programs beyond the university campus
  • 69.8% offered entrepreneurship courses to non-business students
  • 81.1% provided experiential learning in entrepreneurship, innovation and/or research commercialization
  • 52.9% support student internships at SBIR companies
  • 45.3% allocate financial incentives for faculty who have innovations
  • 42.0% have an incubator for community entrepreneurs
  • Less than 30% provide a research park for students, faculty or community entrepreneurs

Click the link to see all the survey results.

How does your community compare?