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PFI: Technology Innovation Program: Enhancing Biotech Translational Research Among NE Ohio Institutions

This Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) project--a Type III (A:C) partnership between Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), a NSF PFI graduate (0125703), and Lorain County Community College (LCCC), an institution new to the PFI Program (defined as one that has never been a PFI grantee)--seeks to create novel biotechnology innovation in a region facing economic change of major impact by constructing a relationship among a research university, a community college, and technology-based economic development organizations. Students and faculty members from each institution will be integrally involved in prospective and competitive funding for selected Innovation Projects that take ideas from their origins through successive iterations of a disciplined innovation process, including market assessment, design, and development, prototyping, and market readiness. The institutional interactions between CWRU and LCCC will be facilitated by a Relationship Manager, a novel administrative position that ensures inter-institutional alignment, student mentoring within CWRU and LCCC, and a strategic mechanism by which students are assigned to project teams. Each Innovation Project will be under the leadership of an entrepreneur-in-residence provided by TechLift, a technology based development organization. The intellectual merit resides, in part, in the novel links and resulting synergies of faculties, students, and business people with different complementary skill-sets. It links the discovery process of universities to the workforce development missions of community colleges.<br/><br/>The project seeks to align institutional activities with regional economic needs so the latter are more nationally and internationally competitive, especially in a regional economy in the throes of change. It is planned that this pilot partnership will not only be sustained and expanded between Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Loraine County Community College (LCCC), but it will also serve as a test-bed for LCCC's relationships to other higher education institutions in the region, although each future innovation partnership will have to be attuned and managed according to its distinct properties. <br/><br/>Partners at the inception of the project are Academic Institutions: Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) (lead institution) and Lorain County Community College; and Private Sector Organizations: Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE), and TechLift.

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