The next phase of the University of Georgia’s Innovation District is coming along.
As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents recently approved the renovation of the Spring Street Building, which will be transformed into a creative space to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry engagement at UGA.
The $4.4 million project is expected to be completed by January 2021 through the support of private donations.
“First and foremost, we are grateful to the chancellor and the Board of Regents for supporting this critical next step in the development of UGA’s Innovation District,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “This exciting project will provide a unique space at the heart of North Campus and downtown Athens, where faculty, students, industry partners and community members can collaborate, innovate and develop solutions to real-world problems.”
Located at the corner of Spring and South streets, which is a block off Broad Street in downtown Athens, the building will have a flexible workspace, conference rooms, and presentation areas to support UGA’s growing number of faculty startup companies. The renovated facility will also provide space and programming to enable students and industry partners to work together on company-based research and development projects.
Last year, UGA ranked first among 193 U.S. institutions for the number of commercial products reaching the market, according to a survey released by the nonprofit AUTM, which tracks technology transfer. In the same survey, UGA ranked fourth for the amount of new intellectual property licenses executed to industry.
“By almost any measure, the innovation ecosystem of the University of Georgia is booming,” said Kyle Tschepikow, special assistant to the president and director for strategy and innovation. “The Spring Street Building, as the next phase of the Innovation District initiative, will enable the institution to accelerate research commercialization, expand industry engagement, and provide rich experiential learning opportunities that prepare our graduates to be successful in the Innovation Age.”
This project will follow the completion of Studio 225, which opened in March 2019 as the first part of the Innovation District initiative. Studio 225, also funded by private donations, supports UGA’s rapidly-growing student-focused entrepreneurship program, which launched with one instructor and 33 undergraduates a few years ago and has transformed into a campus-wide initiative that extends to more than 1,000 students each year and includes a wide range of academic and experiential opportunities.
Over time, the Innovation District initiative will include an integrated set of facilities, programs and services designed to inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, industry collaboration and experiential learning, making the university a more powerful driver of economic development locally and across Georgia.
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