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Georgia Colleges Looking to Capitalize on Research Capabilities

Georgia’s research colleges have a story to share about how they can boost the state’s economy, and they started telling it Monday.

One part of the University System of Georgia’s message is well-known: the schools drive economic development by graduating an educated and skilled workforce. But Chancellor Hank Huckaby organized a forum to focus on a different strength – professors producing research that can lure companies to the state and develop new businesses and products.

The forum highlighted research that was successfully commercialized, including telemedicine devices that address rural health needs and better body armor to protect the U.S. military.

College and business leaders also discussed what the system can do to improve and spur even more development.

Chris Cummiskey, the state’s economic development commissioner, called on the colleges to better communicate the innovation happening on their campuses. This information is crucial as Georgia moves away from just manufacturing jobs to knowledge-based innovation, he said.

The goal is to foster start-up companies, help them grow and then keep students in Georgia when they graduate.

“The growth of our future is going to be in the innovation jobs,” Cummiskey said. “Help us figure out what we can do as a state to nurture those people.”

Other states – including Ohio and Tennessee – are discussing how college research can lead to more economic growth as the nation rebounds from the recession. Federal agencies that support much of this research have also put more emphasis on commercialization.

There are two main way to get the research into the marketplace — create start-ups or license the innovation to existing companies.

Read more: AJC


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