State leaders praise UA’s leadership in research commercialization


At its regional meeting last Friday, the Ohio Board of Regents Commercialization Task Force pointed to The University of Akron’s leadership in commercializing innovative ideas and supporting entrepreneurship and economic development. 

“I suggest that the University has had a great deal to do with rebuilding the urban core of Akron and Summit County,” said Jim Petro, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.  “This type of university and its aggressive effort to redevelop the spirit of education in this region has really been noteworthy.” 

“What we need to do is remove the barriers between industry and education,” noted Regent Vinny Gupta, chair of the task force. 

Gupta recognized UA President Luis Proenza for his leadership on the issue, citing the partnership with Timken Co. as an example of effective collaboration.  “We are looking for those examples to be highlighted within our state.”

Both President Proenza and Provost Mike Sherman presented remarks before the Task Force.

Dr. Proenza focused on the need for universities to find new ways to spark innovation and move innovative ideas into the marketplace through more seamless programs in technology transfer and intellectual property.

Provost Mike Sherman enforced how important graduates are to growing this economy.

“Ohio citizens are demanding that colleges and universities help them to be part of a growing economy,” Sherman said. “Therefore, we must graduate more students prepared to fulfill necessary jobs, to be entrepreneurs and to launch more companies that survive longer.”

Also speaking was John Deerborn, president of Jumpstart, Inc. who noted the “tremendous productivity” at UA.

“The ecosystem that exists here is certainly robust and active," Deerborn said. "It is not statewide, and we need that ecosystem to continue to advance statewide.”

The task force is meeting on campuses statewide following the release of its report on the condition of higher education in advancing the innovation economy.

The task force has committed itself to implementing the recommendations in the report. Read the report.

icon Story by Nikita Lero

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