K-State Olathe named an Economic Development Administration University Center

Monday, August 29, 2013

by Kristi Northcutt

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has designated Kansas State University Olathe as part of its University Center Economic Development Program. The university will receive a $250,000 grant annually over the next five years to support the creation and infrastructure of the K-State Olathe Innovation Accelerator.

The center is a collaborative effort of the university's Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Institute for Commercialization, office of corporate engagement and K-State Olathe to assist industry in developing and expanding products and technologies that will have a positive economic impact in the region.

The K-State Olathe Innovation Accelerator is designed to work closely with private industry to understand their technical or business limitations and then identify resources to assist in overcoming them, according to Jeff Tucker, executive director of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute. This may be in the form of technical expertise, such as scientific or engineering assistance, or conducting market research into potential new areas of businesses for an organization.

"Kansas State University's technology development and commercialization capabilities, combined with market research insights of K-State Olathe's Sensory and Consumer Research Center and the global connections of the Olathe's U.S.-China Center for Animal Health, will ensure the Innovation Accelerator has the internal capacity to balance technical feasibility, market desirability and economic viability for industrial partners, making it a significant benefit to the Kansas City region," Tucker said.

The innovation accelerator is initially targeting specific industry clusters around animal health and food safety to take advantage of the university's technical expertise and extended network connections previously established by the K-State Olathe campus. This will quickly be expanded to include a wide range of processing, manufacturing and technology-based organizations seeking to benefit from a collaborative partnership between themselves and Kansas State University, Tucker said.

Innovation accelerator staff will meet with a wide range of companies across the region and discuss the technical and business limitations facing each organization on a confidential basis. Tucker said once innovation accelerator project managers have a fundamental understanding of the challenges facing the company, they will work to construct joint projects that engage the resources needed to address the identified hurdles using a systemic approach. This could involve using the university's technical or business development resources, or forming a collaboration of other technical or business development experts in the region that will help the company reach its desired goals.

The mission of Economic Development Administration is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.

For more information on K-State Olathe Innovator Accelerator, contact Tucker at 785-532-3421 or jwtuck@k-state.edu. To learn more about the Advanced Manufacturing Institute, visit http://www.amisuccess.com.