Officials emphasize importance of entrepreneurship
April 19, 2011Tweet
Administrators stressed the University’s entrepreneurial efforts to the University Council at its April 15 meeting.
“The present and future of Binghamton University is about being an entrepreneurial university,” said President C. Peter Magrath, who added that Binghamton must focus on economic development. “The students here are entrepreneurially minded. It is extraordinarily exciting.”
Bahgat Sammakia, interim vice president for research, and Eugene Krentsel, assistant vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation partnerships, provided the council with a research overview.
• Sponsored research has increased 76 percent over the past five years, topping $44 million in 2009-10. Patent licensure revenue has increased five-fold over those five years.
• A faculty team will soon work to expand and strengthen research connected to healthcare. The initiative will not only strive to conduct multidisciplinary research, but also will establish partnerships with state and local healthcare institutions.
• A new engineering and science building will open at the Innovative Technologies Complex. The Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ dean’s office has already moved into the building. “It’s a really special facility,” Sammakia told the council members, who plan to tour the building next month. “Anyone who visits it walks out feeling that we are getting a world-class structure at Binghamton.”
• Also at the ITC, the University broke ground on the 114,000-square-foot Center of Excellence building.
Sammakia and Krentsel also emphasized the University’s numerous external collaborations and partnerships with dozens of local, regional and national companies. Binghamton has even established partnerships with international firms such as Samsung and STATSChipPAC.
The University receives 18 percent of its funding from business, private organizations and industry, Krentsel said. This is well above the 7 percent national average, he said.
“Our ability to work with companies large and small makes an interesting advantage for us as we grow our reputation in economic development,” Krentsel said.
The Division of Research has moved entrepreneurship to the forefront by creating the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships. Also, faculty members can create or modify a course through the Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum (ExC) program. Faculty can also start their own businesses with low-cost space and support from the Start-Up Suite. The ITC features eight designated suites for early-stage companies, while the new engineering and science building will offer 12 more suites.
Krentsel is hopeful that student entrepreneurs will soon take advantage of the suites.
“We are going outside the realm of faculty start-up companies,” he said. “Students are getting more engaged. My office has seen a constant flow of students coming in. We’ve never seen that before. It’s a tremendous feeling.”
Entrepreneurship and the partnerships that develop from it have many advantages for the University, Sammakia told the council.
“The most important parts of working closely with industry are having local impact and a broader impact on society,” he said. “And if we can get faculty to work with industry on things that matter, it will be research that changes the way people look at life.”