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Make your mark on UB’s innovation district

Published September 29, 2017

Where do you have your “lightbulb” moments? Where do you bring your ideas to life? Where is the heart of innovation on campus?

These are just some of the questions the Office of Research and Economic Development will ask UB faculty, staff and students this week as part of a campus-wide survey that will inform creation of a master plan for innovation districts on UB’s campuses.

Innovation districts — a shift from the traditional, single-purpose research park — encourage and increase university research and student engagement with industry and other strategic partners, both startups and anchor company partners, according to Christina Orsi, associate vice president for economic development. They create vibrant places that facilitate networking and work among students, faculty and industry, and integrate housing, retail and other amenities with space for academic, research and industry, Orsi says.

The initiative is part of UB’s broader focus on fostering a culture of entrepreneurship that attracts faculty and students, as well as produces the talent and leadership to carry the Western New York region into the future.

Members of the UB community will receive a link to the survey in their UB email account today and are asked to complete the survey by Oct. 15. All participants will start with the MyCampus survey; faculty and staff will be automatically directed to a Collaboration survey.

Each survey should take 8-10 minutes to complete. All survey responses will remain anonymous.

“Innovation districts not only focus on fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, but help to create new industries and transform marketplaces by solving real-world problems,” Orsi says. “This will directly generate wealth for the university and our region.

“This is an exciting opportunity for UB,” she adds. “The opinions of faculty, staff and students will shape the overall plan for UB’s innovation district."

Laura Hubbard, vice president for finance and administration, calls the survey “an important evolutionary step in UB’s thinking about how we enable innovation, both programmatically and in physical spaces.”

“It is a key complement to our physical master plan, Building UB, in imagining these spaces across our three campuses,” she says.