By Spencer Schneier, Staff Writer
Published in print Feb. 25, 2015
Governor Pat McCrory’s aims to commercialize research and turn it into products and start-ups were a central piece of his State of the State address on Feb. 6, and the line he has shared with a host of audiences is as follows: “I want North Carolina to be the third vertex of the national innovation triangle.”
A central piece of Governor Pat McCrory’s Feb. 6 State of the State address are his aims to commercialize research, turn that research into products and start-ups and make North Carolina “the third vertex of the national innovation triangle.”
His proposal includes a wide range of recommendations, which focus on giving incentives to small business and start-ups to settle in North Carolina, while also taking research from North Carolina’s universities and trying to convert it into business.
UNC-Greensboro does not have a medical school or an engineering school, which are programs that would typically benefit from such a program. Despite this, Chancellor Linda Brady thinks UNCG is well positioned to benefit from the governor’s ideas.
“Whether it is working to develop novel drug leads, partnering with government, nonprofits, and businesses to address a local challenge, or creating an award-winning entrepreneurial business plan to enhance North Carolina’s burgeoning industries, UNCG students, faculty, and staff are actively developing solutions that have a direct impact on the lives of North Carolinians,” Brady told The Carolinian in an email.
UNCG has partnered with neighboring universities and private institutions on a number of initiatives, some of which Brady acknowledged specifically.
“Union Square is one example of how we are helping to close the skills gap and address employer demands that Governor McCrory has emphasized as being critical to strengthening North Carolina’s economic competitiveness,” she emphasized when asked about projects that will keep UNCG competitive.
Union Square is a joint program that will establish a campus in downtown Greensboro for training nurses. The program is a combined effort of UNC-Greensboro, Guilford Technical Community College and N.C. A&T.
She highlighted some of UNC-Greensboro’s other initiatives to help convert research and ideas into innovation and business.
“UNCG is already a major contributor in many important areas, including nanoscience at the Joint School, strong programs in entrepreneurship, attracting international talent, and the many innovative programs in health care, education and the arts,” she told The Carolinian.
The Joint School of Nanoscience is a partnership between UNC-Greensboro and N.C. A&T, which is based at the Gateway Research building on Lee Street.
The program states that its goal is to “create a school focused on developing leading edge applications in the hottest emerging technologies.”
Brady also noted “Greensboro’s many advantages in logistics, quality of life, higher education, and its strong history of manufacturing and global engagement,” saying that “the area is well positioned to participate in the emerging manufacturing renaissance, particularly in advanced manufacturing.”
Programs such as HQ Greensboro— a collaborative effort with HQ Raleigh to help foster entrepreneurship in Greensboro by providing access to flexible office space— will also help UNC-Greensboro students compete in the start-up market and turn their research into business.
Brady, acknowledging this as well as many other efforts the university is making, does not necessarily have the same national aims as the governor does.
“UNCG seeks to create even more opportunities for students and faculty to contribute to the Triad’s economic growth,” she concluded.
Her focus seemingly lies more on the local community, not the national one.
Governor McCrory’s office did not reply to multiple requests from The Carolinian asking for a comment.