COLUMBIA, S.C. (courtesy benedict.edu) — Benedict College is pleased to announce the receipt of a $400,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation for supporting research and increasing innovation capacity. The U.S. National Science Foundation has announced the first-ever Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC) investment of $19.6 million to nearly 50 teams at U.S. institutions of higher education, including teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, minority-serving institutions, and community colleges. Each institution will receive up to $400,000 over three years.
“I applaud Dr. Dunn and her team for applying and receiving this incredibly important capacity building grant. The NSF EPIIC grant provides an opportunity for Benedict to support economic and technical innovation in South Carolina,” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, president and CEO of Benedict College. “Additionally, the grant will enable our scholars to become an integral part of South Carolina’s innovation development.”
Through this investment, Benedict College is partnering with two other institutions – Somerset Community College in Kentucky and Rose State College in Oklahoma. The partnership will focus on removing barriers for participating in regional innovation ecosystems through individual and collaborative actions. Objectives of the initiative will include increasing each institution’s faculty and student engagement in research and sponsored projects, strengthening the capacity of each institution through the development or enhancement of a sponsored projects office and external partner outreach, as well as enhancing the technology transfer processes at each institution.
“The Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship is keenly focused on driving economic development and engagement in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The NSF EPIIC funding is critical to cultivating innovation on the campus of Benedict College, and the business school is excited to participate in this initiative because it aligns with our strategic priorities and it positions Benedict College to become a major contributor to the South Carolina innovation ecosystem,” noted Dr. Tracy Harrell Dunn, dean of the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship and principal investigator on the NSF grant.
“The NSF EPIIC grant award allows Benedict College to take a serious look on how we invest in our infrastructure for long term growth in innovation and entrepreneurship. Undergoing this process gives us access to a whole new landscape of competitiveness for the college and for our students,” said Aaron Taylor, director of the Burroughs, Enterprise, Startup, and Technology Innovation Lab and co-principal investigator on the NSF grant.
“NSF aspires to accelerate the nation’s research and innovation enterprise and empower all Americans to participate in the science- and technology-driven workforce,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP). “EPIIC reinforces NSF’s commitment to develop new, inclusive innovation ecosystems by connecting diverse networks of partners to work together to drive the expansion of key technologies — and the technology workforce — in the U.S. and in turn address pressing national, societal and geostrategic challenges.”
Launched by the TIP Directorate, EPIIC works with institutions interested in growing external partnerships and building innovation capacity. NSF recognizes that many institutions, including MSIs, small academic institutions and two-year institutions, stand to benefit from additional focused support for the infrastructure and resources needed to grow external partnerships and to tap into innovation ecosystems, including engaging with NSF Engines and EDA Tech Hubs.
“NSF recognizes that institutions with limited research capacities require comprehensive support to become equitable partners in their regional innovation ecosystems,” said Thyaga Nandagopal, director of TIP’s Division of Innovation and Technology Ecosystems. “This funding aims to set EPIIC awardees on level ground to seek and build lasting partnerships to tap into their innovation potential, and the capacity-building efforts will continue to provide significant innovation partnership opportunities well into the future.”