CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University has received a three year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to become one of just 36 academic institutions in the United States designated as an "Innovation Corps Site," to help bring ideas and discoveries to the commercial marketplace.

This recognition will enhance OSU's collaboration with the National Science Foundation, and allow it to join other prestigious universities that have received the same designation, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie-Mellon University, the University of Illinois, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California. 

The program is designed to accelerate commercialization of new technologies, products and processes that emerge from American universities, according to NSF representatives. It will nurture students and faculty involved in projects with commercial potential; develop a larger system of mentors, researchers, and entrepreneurs; and encourage collaboration between academia and industry.

At OSU, involvement with this program will be another boost to activities in its Advantage Accelerator, an existing initiative to help identify research discoveries with commercial potential and assist startup companies in bringing those discoveries to commercial success.

"This support from the NSF will be particularly helpful in preparing early stage concepts, to keep our pipeline full of new companies," said John Turner, co-director of the OSU Advantage Accelerator. "One example is a pre-accelerator program we plan to begin next month, which will be a set of workshops open to both student, faculty and community innovators."

This series of four workshops will allow participants to explore the formation of a startup company, generate a flow of new business concepts and help prepare applicants for the full Advantage Accelerator program, officials said.

OSU officials said this support also helps position the university to apply for larger grants and support from the NSF in the future.

As part of this program, OSU will be expected to create teams that engage competitively with other NSF "I-corps" teams for small business grants and other competitions, and contribute to a "National Innovation Network."

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John Turner, 541-737-9219