The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has received a nearly $500,000 i6 Challenge Award from the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA) to establish a Proof-of-Concept Center at UTHSC in partnership with Memphis Bioworks Foundation. The award was announced recently by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker as part of the EDA’s 2016 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program, which aims to expand commercialization programs across the country.
The UTHSC Proof-of-Concept Center will be located in Memphis, a cornerstone city for a region that is investing in innovation and entrepreneurship to overcome longstanding economic challenges and population health burdens. As a research-intensive health science center, UTHSC is highly focused on understanding and solving the medical challenges facing the region’s majority African-American population, such as elevated levels of diabetes, respiratory disorders, stroke, cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease and sickle cell disease. The RIS i6 Challenge funding will help connect innovative UTHSC medical researchers and their technologies to business and entrepreneurial expertise via a partnership with Memphis Bioworks Foundation. It will also support collaborative efforts with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) — the technology transfer arm of the University of Tennessee — with the overarching goal of offering novel solutions for regional health challenges, and directly contributing to job creation and economic development in the region and state.
Vice Chancellor for Research Steven R. Goodman, PhD, who served as the principal investigator on the grant, said the award will help cultivate an entrepreneurial culture at UTHSC.
“I am very appreciative and excited about the Department of Commerce funding our proposal for the UTHSC Proof-of-Concept Center,” Dr. Goodman said. “This partnership between UTHSC and (Memphis) Bioworks (Foundation) will support development grants to stimulate entrepreneurship among our faculty, provide additional support for our innovative CORNET Awards program, and establish a new Entrepreneur-in-Residence program.”Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, Partnerships, Technology, UT Health Science Center, UT Research Foundation