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UVI Among 15 HBCUs Tapped to Bolster Efforts on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Universities

Dr. Tim Faley at HBCU Innovation Summit

The University of the Virgin Islands is among 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) chosen to participate in a new, multi-year collaboration of institutions designed to bolster innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship efforts on their respective campuses. The announcement was made by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), a non-profit organization with members in all 50 states and U.S. territories, on Feb. 12.

Photo: UVI Professor Dr. Tim Faley was among attendees the HBCU Innovation Summit sponsored by the UNCF at Stanford University in 2013. The summit was instrumental in the development of the HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative.

The new group is named the HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative. Participating schools will have access to current and future funding opportunities to support their efforts to build what organizers call an “innovation ecosystem” among institutions, administrators, faculty and students, the federal government, and private industry.

“UVI is privileged and honored to be part of the inaugural cohort of fifteen universities,” said Dr. Timothy Faley, the Kiril Sokoloff Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at UVI. Forty-four HBCUs submitted competitive applications for the limited number of spaces in the initial collaboration. Institutions were rated on institutional commitment and capacity, federal research engagement, the potential for faculty innovation and cross-disciplinary impact.

Dr. Faley will lead the team coordinating UVI’s activities on campus and with the collaborative. Joining him will be Dr. Wayne Archibald, an assistant professor of engineering, and Dr. Stanley Latesky, a chemistry professor and chair of UVI’s Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences. Rounding out the UVI team will be graduate student Howard Forbes, who is studying marine and environmental sciences.

“We are excited to be part of this movement that will impact education and economies across the globe,” Dr. Faley said. The UVI effort will involve both campuses and will offer direct and indirect benefits to students, according to Dr. Faley. “Each University’s entrepreneurship programs will get stronger faster through the collaborative,” he said. “The curriculum and the experiential learning programs will improve.” He said the effort was “not the implementation of ‘best practices,’ but the creation of ‘next practices.’”

Dr. Timothy Faley
Dr. Timothy Faley

Dr. Faley expects there will be a significant economic impact in the regions around each university in the collaborative. This will come “as students and faculty learn to commercialize their research and start other businesses,” he said. “This growth will be created, in part, by the expanded network that will be built among the students and faculty at the HBCU collaborative. I am very excited that UVI is part of this mix. I believe we can serve as a model for expansion across the HBCU’s and ultimately across the globe. This is a great opportunity to extend the impact of the Kiril Sokoloff gift in entrepreneurship to UVI beyond the borders of the University.”

Investment strategist and entrepreneur Kiril Sokoloff announced a $5 million gift for UVI in May of 2011. It has funded a variety of entrepreneurship efforts at the University, including the annual 13D Student Entrepreneurship Competition and the Kiril Sokoloff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship. Sokoloff is the founder of 13D Research, which is headquartered on St. Thomas.

According to the APLU, local teams are expected to create campus-wide courses and programs to ensure that students and faculty can participate in the commercialization of funded research. Participating students will have the opportunity to join a fellowship program that focuses on students working with their peers to enhance the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem on their campuses.

UVI’s entire team will join with those from other collaborative members at a kick-off symposium in March. The 2014 HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative Symposium will serve as a preliminary session held in conjunction with OPEN 2014 – the 18th Annual Conference of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators. That conference takes place from March 21 to 22, in San Jose, Cal. The pre-conference symposium will be hosted jointly by the APLU, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, the United Negro College Fund, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Joining UVI in the new collaborative are: Clark Atlanta University, Fayetteville State University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Prairie View A&M University, Tuskegee University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and Xavier University of Louisiana.