Economist to Help Lead National Think Tank
Turning research into real-world solutions with market value is the focus of an intensive, three-week workshop that kicked off today at the University of Tennessee’s Cherokee Farm.
UT Knoxville is hosting the event for the first time after joining the National Science Foundation-funded “Innovation Corps” program in June. For some participants with start-up ideas, there’s a potential prize, too. NSF-funded grants of $50,000 are possible for participants whose ideas and plans for turning them into reality are deemed promising enough to win the cash to pilot them.
Scientists and engineers representing Georgia Tech, Louisiana State University and Tennessee Tech University are hearing from experts on thinking through and launching a startup. Participants will then conduct 20 customer discovery phone interviews to test their ideas with customers for evaluation.
The lineup kicked off with a welcome from UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport.
“I’d like to spend every day welcoming innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs who are thinking about tomorrow and what kinds of needs can be met and what kinds of jobs are going to be created,” Davenport said. “There’s no better incentive than a need, a problem, around which to develop a solution. I’m excited that the University of Tennessee is bringing people together to think in terms of the end user, the applications and what use they might be.”
Chancellor Beverly Davenport recently presented plaques to Jagadamma, assistant professor of biosystems engineering and soil science in the UT Institute of Agriculture, and McCord, assistant professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, in recognition of the honor.
“Often funding agencies require extensive preliminary data, effectively asking that a project be halfway done before funding it,” said McCord. “This can make things difficult for junior faculty who are just getting projects off the ground, but early support like this Powe Award can give projects momentum to be more competitive for extensive funding later.”
A team led by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researchers is one of five selected by NASA as part of an overall investment of nearly $50 million to lead the next aviation revolution.
The goal of UT’s team is to produce much more aerodynamically capable aircraft, with NASA providing $9.9 million for the efforts upon final negotiations — believed to be the largest NASA award for a UT-led project.
“It is hugely gratifying to see the University of Tennessee recognized in this way,” said Chancellor Beverley Davenport. “This is a great example of how a public-private partnership and inter-institutional cooperation can result in solutions that address important challenges facing our world.
“We look forward to the success of this team and will point to it as an example of what corporate and university partners can accomplish when they join forces. Congratulations to Dr. Coder and his team.”
Graduate education at UT earned high marks in the new U.S. News and World Report rankings, with programs in business, law, engineering, information sciences, nursing, and education listed among the best in the nation.
Three of UT’s overall graduate programs took big steps forward in the lists: