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About Virginia Tech

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, commonly known as Virginia Tech, was established in 1872 in Blacksburg, VA. Virginia Tech is a public, land-grant university built around the campus motto, Ut Prosim, "That I May Serve." The campus mascot is the HokieBird who easily blends into the sea of maroon and orange provided by 33,000 Hokies, in 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.  The university fulfills its land-grant mission of learning, discovery, and engagement, transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia. VT is ranked 44th in university research in the United States.

Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship

Virginia Tech’s growing innovation ecosystem  includes interdisciplinary collaboration between institutes and department across the university to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among students. One example is the partnership between the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technologywith the Pamplin College of Business, which aims to expand and refine efforts to prepare students for entrepreneurial opportunities. In 2016, the university has announced the formation of a Creativity and Innovation District,  that will guide future thinking, repurpose assets, and create physical space that is intended to leverage creative and entrepreneurial activities and spark interdisciplinary innovations.

Here at Virginia Tech, innovation and entrepreneurship is a spectrum. In parts of the university, such as the College of Business, there is a strong pull for this, but on the other side of the spectrum, there are departments of the university that have not integrated a positive I&E culture. There are many clubs, classes, and opportunities that utilize I&E and promote growth in that field. However, the classes that encourage I&E are typically exclusive to business majors unless professor permission is given. The clubs are open to anyone and everyone, but the majority of advertising and promotion for the clubs are done to business students. There are plenty of out of class opportunities for I&E, but not many Virginia Tech students are aware of them. There is no unified ideology that I&E is beneficial to all fields. Some departments agree, and some disagree. Part of our goal is to unify the faculty and students under the idea that multidisciplinary I&E is beneficial to the growth of the school.

Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

Virginia Tech encourages innovation and entrepreneurship for faculty members in several ways.  The Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurshipworks closely with the Virginia Tech faculty to help encourage entrepreneurship and innovation campus wide.  TheCatalyst Programhelps faculty members (as well as also students and  alumni) to launch new startups or accelerate existing ventures. Virginia Tech also established a technology commercialization training program for faculty members and hosts a special outreach program, including attendance at industry market conferences, in areas ripe for increasing Virginia Tech inventions, through the Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc.(VTIP).  Regarding funding opportunities, the Office of Sponsored Programsprovides a comprehensive array of support services for faculty as they pursue and manage external funding projects in innovation and entrepreneurship. Aiming to enable faculty members to respond quickly to market needs requiring technical expertise, Virginia Tech developed the Technical Assistance Program(TAP), a consulting activity intended to strengthen university and faculty relationships with external organizations.

Actively supporting the university technology transfer function

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Centeradvances the technology transfer mission through a program called VT KnowledgeWorksthat helps create companies based on VT-developed technology licensed by Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc. (VTIP). This institution is in charge of commercialize VT Inventions, including technology evaluation, protection, licensing and monitor licensees for success. The tech transfer process at VIIP includes identifying new technologies, protecting technologies through patents and copyrights, forming development and commercialization strategies (such as marketing and licensing to existing private sector companies or creating new start-up companies based on the technology).  VT KnowledgeWorksprovides business formation and growth support services, engaging an extensive network of consultants, mentors, early-stage investors, and professional service providers to help emerging and expanding enterprises maximize opportunities and minimize risks.

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

Virginia Tech’s efforts to solve society’s problems, improve quality of life, and keep the United States globally competitive require the speedy transfer of ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace (VT Research and Innovation)  Working with business and industry is an essential characteristic of the Virginia Tech culture, and it is in the DNA of the university’s students and its 2,500 teaching and research faculty members, many of whom work to patent discoveries, start companies, and provide practical knowledge to the world.

Blacksburg is home to the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC), home to nearly 200 research, technology, and support companies employing over 3,000 employees. The CRC works closely with the university to advance the research, educational, and technology transfer missions of Virginia Tech. The CRC facilitates relationships between companies and the university to advance research. The CRC also connects companies with faculty and student projects to be conducted at the research park. They also facilitate a number of programs (intellectual property support, physical research space, research-related employment for students, faculty, and surrounding area, supports Strategic Services and university outreach initiatives) as an intermediary between the university and the surrounding community.

Virginia Tech also maintains a presence in Northern Virginia and participates in numerous collaborations between the university and all levels (organizational, local, state, and federal) of government. One program is theDC I-Corps, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program is a partnership between the University of Maryland, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, and Virginia Tech. DC I-Corps connects technology entrepreneurs with participants, and helps participants build business models for their technology innovations in a collaborative environment with successful entrepreneurs as the instructors.

The Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE)is a partnership between the university’s Pamplin College of Businessand Apex Systems. Apex Systems is an IT staffing and services company founded by four Virginia Tech alumni who have committed $5 million to advancing student entrepreneurial empowerment. The CIE includes a wide variety of activities to involve all students, regardless of major program. These include Entrepreneur Club, the Innovate Living Learning Community, and many funding sources for students to engage in innovation & entrepreneurship.

Engaging with regional and local development efforts

At Virginia Tech, community engagement is crucial to us. We have an Office of Economic Developmentthat focuses on just that. We partner with business and communities with on-campus and local resources. One of the main studies that has garnered much interest was studying and analyzing the impact of the prominent Virginia Tech football team plays on the local economy. Our university football team helps provide 300 local jobs and $69 million to the community. Our school is passionate about efforts to improve the area we live in and are striving to discover more ways to do so.

Related Links

Virginia Tech Student Priorities

Supporting Experiential Learning at Virginia Tech:

Fall 2017

Jarrodd Davis

Danielle Jeffers

Najla Mouchrek

Sunny Murthy

(Source: several VT websites)