Three types of innovation centers influencing higher education

The challenges we face are becoming more complex, and academic institutions are recognizing the power of crossing traditional academic lines to best respond. This recognition is fueling the creation of innovation centers that drive cross-pollination and fuse creative fields like computer science, math, design, engineering, and others to expand potential for developing new products and real-world applications.

07/27/2016


Lassonde Studios Innovation Center. Courtesy: CannonDesignEverybody loves talking about innovation. And today's students are surrounding the word with others like "make," "hack," and "prototype" as they get set to head back to school in the month ahead.

Colleges and universities are listening to the dialogue and responding with new learning facilities billed as "innovation + incubator + maker centers" to support the shifting ambitions of students. These centers focus on multidisciplinary inquiry that can foster partnerships with industry and fully leverage available grants and funding for research.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all innovation center that universities can turn to for success. Instead, our education team recognizes three specific types of innovation centers—each with their own benefits—that are emerging on campuses across the world. It's important for academic leaders to understand these three types and make strategic decisions to ensure they select a relevant and powerful model that will succeed at empowering their institution.

Here's a brief look at the three different types:

Innovation centers promoting multidisciplinary learning

The challenges we face are becoming more complex and academic institutions are recognizing the power of crossing traditional academic lines to best respond. This recognition is fueling the creation of innovation centers that drive cross-pollination and fuse creative fields like computer science, math, design, engineering, and others to expand potential for developing new products and real-world applications.

Texas Christian University (TCU) is focused on this type of innovation center with the introduction of Rees Jones Hall, an incubator facility designed to maximize social and intellectual connectivity. The building houses the TCU IdeaFactory, a unit of the College of Science & Engineering—and CannonDesign project—where students can develop ideas, advance prototypes, conduct market analysis, and test. Rees Jones Hall surrounds the IdeaFactory with diverse programs including its Institute of Child Development and the TCU Energy Institute, organizing them around a central atrium to create a "vertical street" of interactive public space. This street helps the building facilitate creative, intellectual "collisions" to encourage student/faculty collaboration across multiple fields.

Innovation centers fostering industry partnership

Other institutions are turning to innovation centers to create and enhance industry partnership. This model leads to facilities where businesses can be embedded and work in tandem with university business and engineering schools to create new products and services. These partnerships create mutual benefits: learning experiences for students who, in turn, lend their talents to solving challenges facing business and industry.

Penn State Behrend is focused on this model with the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center. The result of a partnership between the college and the Greater Erie Industrial Development Corp., the facility reflects the "open lab" initiative, where regional business and industry leaders, faculty members, and students engage in research and development as teams. Industrial tenants will occupy nearly half of the new building and have access to university research space and equipment. This learning model will promote collaboration between academia and industry, offer students real-world experience, and support the growth of manufacturing in the region.

Innovation centers driving entrepreneurship

Technology has made it easier than ever before for students to start and launch companies. Learning institutions are responding by developing incubator programs along with facilities that harness students' entrepreneurial drive and creative passion. Institutions like Iowa State University and the University of Utah are creating these types of innovation centers to bring the energy of startup companies to collegiate campuses. These centers are often highly flexible and blur the lines between life and work in a way that gives students 24/7 access to technology and support as they build and launch companies.

-Bradley Lukanic is executive director of CannonDesign's education practice. Through his position, he leads a dynamic team of strategists, thought leaders, planners, and designers focused on enhancing educational experiences and outcomes in the rapidly evolving education landscape. This article originally appeared on www.cannondesign.com. CannonDesign is a CFE Media content partner.



The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me