LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) hosted leaders from 24 universities on campus for two days last week for a “Site Leads Summit,” the first planning session for the Southeast XLerator Network Hub. Funded by a three-year grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the “virtual hub” will provide the opportunity for the Southeast IDeA states’ participating institutions to connect and share educational curriculum, best practices, resources and commercialization tools to move biomedical technologies to market faster.
“I was humbled to be able to host here at UK so many experienced leaders from such a large congregation of great universities,” said Ian McClure, OTC director and principal investigator on the grant. “The collective ideas and energy shared will develop network effects to benefit biomedical innovation in the Southeast for years to come. I have no doubt we will look back on this summit as a moment where something special was started.”
The two-day summit was kicked off with welcoming remarks from with Lisa Cassis, UK vice president for research. The group discussed the mission, goals, progress, governance and online platform design. They also heard presentations from each of the seven states involved focused on their biomedical research and commercialization gaps and strengths.
“This first planning meeting format provided an excellent in-depth understanding of the Southeast XLerator Network partners, their leadership, assets, needs and the gaps in their ecosystems. It also allowed each of us to determine our similarities and our differences with the other Southeast IDeA states,” said David L. Gulley, founding director of the Technology Transfer Office at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust.
With almost 30 people participating in-person in this Site Leads Summit, the conversations were enthusiastic and spoke to the excitement over the ability to share resources and help the Southeast IDeA states cultivate biomedical technology. It was evident by the conversations these institutions shared similar experiences that could be improved by the Southeast Xlerator Network.
Terri D. Wright, executive director of the Office of Grants and Sponsored Research at Winthrop University, said, “I would like to commend the NIGMS Hub Leadership team for an informative, collaborative and enjoyable meeting. Having all state leads in one place proved to be very successful. I think everyone involved walked away with a greater appreciation for the scope and breadth of research and commercialization taking place in each IDeA state as well as the high level of interest in establishing a marketplace for the Hub. This was an exceptional event.”
“This summit was a great first step in organizing and strategizing on how to meet the goals of the grant,” said Taunya Phillips, associate director of New Ventures & Alliances for OTC and co-investigator on the grant. “It was wonderful for all of us to connect as a group and learn from one another how we can both contribute to the Hub and receive value from it.”
The next step will be site visits in each participating state by XLerateHealth, UK’s partnered business entity and primary awardee, to further identify resources and needs for the Hub.
Participants included Clemson University Research Foundation, Coastal Carolina University, Eastern Kentucky University, Jackson State University, LSU Health – New Orleans, Marshall University Research Corporation, Morehead State University, Murray State University, MUSC Foundation for Research Development, Northern Kentucky University, Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, Tulane University, Universidad del Turabo – SUAGM, University of Arkansas, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of Mississippi, West Virginia University, Western Kentucky University, Winthrop University and XLerateHealth.