School:Northwestern University

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Northwestern University

Northwestern is a mid-sized private research university located in Evanston, IL. Over the past several years, the Board of Trustees, as well as the rest of the university has emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation on campus.

Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

While innovation through research has always been a high priority for the university, student entrepreneurship has become one more recently. Over the past years there has been a large influx in terms of resources available for students interested in entrepreneurship. With the opening of the Garage this year and the continued growth of TEDx and e@NU student discovery of entrepreneurship is on the rise. Additionally, students have been driving growth through their participation in student groups such as EPIC, Design for America, and Northwestern Student Holdings.


Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

 Faculty innovation has been a huge priority and success for the university. Northwestern was recently ranked the sixth most innovative university in the world by Reuters for its success with research and patenting of research. Numerous faculty research results have been successfully commercialized, especially in the energy and healthcare sectors. The University continues to promote faculty entrepreneurship, especially when they are creating companies around their research and gives them plenty of resources, as well as help with IP, to help them succeed.


Actively Supporting the University Technology Transfer

The Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) oversees the tech transfer process. They are highly focused on commercialization for use and recognize the importance of startup in both the economy and tech development and commercialization process. Furthermore, in collaboration with other campus stakeholders, INVO will license technology to students for the use in startups in the Farley Center’s  NUvention classes, which provide students with hands on experience starting an early stage startup.


Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

Northwestern works very closely with industry both from the perspective of research and education. Within the entrepreneurship programs, there is a close connection to partners in the Chicago entrepreneurship scene and many of the lecturers for the classes come from outside the University. Additionally, there are ample mentorship opportunities for students from entrepreneurs in residence and from community partners.


Engaging with Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

Northwestern has always sought to engage in development efforts in the Evanston community and recently has sought to play a role in the economic development of the Chicago and Midwest entrepreneurial ecosystems. Through its partnership with 1871 and others in the  Chicago and Midwest ecosystems, Northwestern has become a major producer of both talent and technology for these ecosystems and has helped them to grow rapidly over the past few years.

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