West Virginia University’s groundbreaking program urging student and faculty researchers to interact and innovate with private companies to turn ideas into job-creating products has received a prestigious award from a national organization dedicated to higher education-inspired economic development.

Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization – or LIINC – was the first place winner in a national competition sponsored by the University Economic Development Association. In winning the 2012 Award of Excellence Competition in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship category, WVU’s LIINC was judged against programs from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the University at Albany of the State University of New York.

UEDA officials call the recognition, “the leading awards program for colleges and universities engaged in economic development.”

Established in 1976, UEDA works to expand economic opportunity by leveraging research, community resources, campus planning, talent development and technology commercialization. UEDA is the only national organization dedicated to bringing together the key public and private partners that fuel modern economic development. Universities join UEDA to share best practices, expand domain expertise and build new partnerships among private industry, government agencies and the economic development community.

The competition required LIINC Manager Lindsay Emery to make a presentation on WVU’s behalf at the organization’s annual Summit this week in Chattanooga, Tenn. along with competitors from other universities. Summit participants then voted to select the winner.

In the presentation, Emery explained how LIINC provides a platform for creation of relationships that encourage a mission-oriented entrepreneurial culture for WVU students and faculty as well as the private sector.

“The outcomes of the alliances that LIINC encourages enhance the University’s contribution to economic growth in the region,” she explained. “For example, during a recent event, representatives from companies like Hopewell Ventures, KeyLogic, CONSOL Energy, American Electric Power, Chesapeake Energy, First-Energy the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Aither Chemicals interacted with WVU researchers and walked away with a greater understanding of WVU capabilities and ideas for innovation.”

President Jim Clements was a speaker at associated UEDA events during the Summit and attended Emery’s WVU presentation.

“A major goal of the WVU 2020 Strategic Plan is to excel in research, creative activity and innovation in all disciplines,” Clements said. “LIINC has provided WVU with a local platform for the initiation and promotion of relationships between industry and our researchers that supports that goal.”

LIINC events have highlighted work under way by researchers in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center. An upcoming showcase will feature the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.

In addition to the showcase events, LIINC provides coaching and support to researchers who have little or no prior experience sharing their work to business representatives.

Emery explained that LIINC, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, encourages WVU researchers to present their work in a concise applied-research format that forces them to think from a business perspective and not just from a scientific standpoint. LIINC showcases are drawing praise from private sector participants.



CONTACT: Lindsay Emery, LIINC
304.293.0391; lindsay.emery@mail.wvu.edu

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