Given declining federal research funding, institutions are increasingly interested in working with private industries to pursue new research. These endeavors often require specialized spaces that are customized to the type of private industry partnership. One example is an intellectual property (IP) -transfer incubator.
The goal of IP-transfer incubators is to convert more institutional intellectual property into commercially viable products. These spaces directly facilitate commercialization by giving entrepreneurs access to an institution’s intellectual property and researchers. The institution provides both the space and the support services to attract entrepreneurs and support collaboration between them and principal investigators.
Dedicated space for commercialization is particularly important for institutions located outside of major startup hubs. That's why the University of Florida (UF) successfully leveraged its IP-transfer incubator to expand its commercial opportunities.
University of Florida’s space to support startup collaboration
Looking to build stronger ties with the business community, UF launched its Innovation Hub in 2012. The hub provides coworking space and labs for startups as a way to connect principal investigators and their IP to an entrepreneur with a portfolio of successfully launched businesses. The hub also provides modern offices and subsidized rent, attractive to venture capital groups and legal firms that specialize in IP law. These firms provide coaching and legal advice to startups working in the hub.
The hub also features dedicated space for networking and professional development: lecture halls for guest speakers, an atrium for networking events, and private offices for in-house staff who provide business development training. Overall, the hub provides startups and researchers with both space and support services, nurturing product development.
A strong start means more innovations to come
UF’s hub currently houses more than 30 startups, while three dozen firms that started in the hub have outgrown the space and moved elsewhere. In total, the startups have raised more than $50 million in venture capital and are responsible for 760 new jobs. Due to the hub’s success, UF has secured funding for a second hub, currently in the planning stages.
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Industry Interface Spaces