Thanks to a $2.5 million grant Missouri Western State University will soon join an elite group of universities in America that feature an innovation incubator center.
Last week, MWSU received notification from Sen. Kit Bondâ€™s office that the U.S. Economic Development Administration had awarded a $2.5 million grant to construct an innovation incubator on the west side of campus.
Lauren Sternberg, a MWSU freshman was very excited to hear the news.
â€œI have heard of other innovation incubators from friends who attend different universities and I am thrilled to know MWSU will be building one,â€ Sternberg said. â€œThe incubators on other campuses have benefited not only the students, but their respective communities as a source of economic growth and I am sure that the center will do the same here.â€
The Innovation incubator will provide facilities and assistance for new high-technology companies.
â€œThe innovation incubator is basically a facility and support system to develop inventions,â€ Christopher Shove of the Western Institute said. â€œThe center is a place where students and scientists can share ideas and learn from one another.â€
The planning for the project began back in July of 2004 under the supervision and guidance of Shove a majority of the analysis and planning for the incubator was done by MWSU students from the business and biology departments.
â€œStudents have been involved in this process since day one,â€ Shove said. â€œSome have all ready graduated from MWSU before this project was realized.â€
Shove also wants MWSU students to know that they play a very important part in making the innovation incubator a success.
â€œOver 40 percent of incubators that are affiliated with universities are centers of knowledge and growth because of the students and facility,â€ Shove said. â€œWe live in what economist call a knowledge economy, and this applied learning experience will help students in their studies and careers.â€
â€œThe innovation incubator is basically a facility and support system to develop inventions. The center is a place where students and scientists can share ideas and learn from one another,â€ Shove said.
Shove is not stopping now that part of goal for MWSU has been realized.
He has hopes that one day the MWSU campus will be feature not only the Innovation Incubator, but also a whole Innovation Village.
â€œOne day we hope to have a national Innovation Village that will include many local businesses along with the high-technology companies coming up with ideas that help further not only the local economy but also the national economy,â€ Shove said.
MWSU president James Scanlon seemed pleased about the grant for the incubator.
â€œBuilding this incubator will spur economic development in the region,â€ Scanlon said. â€œAs a developing prototype of the â€˜New American Regional University,â€™ Western is an active partner in the economic growth of the region.â€
The Innovation Incubator will be a two-story, 25,000 square foot building that is designed to accommodate over 15 different firms, consisting of a few staff members each. The project is scheduled to beg in construction in early spring with complication tentatively scheduled for late 2007.
The incubator will be operated by the Western Institute and offer a number of interesting features including conference rooms, laboratories, operation offices, spaces for perspective tenants and a capacity for a wet laboratory.