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Economic development organization lauds WVU

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A West Virginia University program that encourages student and faculty researchers to interact and innovate with private companies to turn ideas into job-creating products was recognized recently by a national organization dedicated to higher education-inspired economic development.

Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization, or LIINC, received the first place award at a national competition sponsored by the University Economic Development Association. According to a news release from the university, WVU's LIINC competed against similar programs offered by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the University at Albany of the State University of New York.

UEDA officials call the recognition, "the leading awards program for colleges and universities engaged in economic development."

UEDA was established in 1976 to expand economic opportunity by leveraging research, community resources, campus planning, talent development and technology commercialization.

The competition required LIINC Manager Lindsay Emery to make a presentation on WVU's behalf at the organization's annual Summit this week in Chattanooga, Tenn., along with competitors from other universities. Summit participants then voted to select the winner.

In the presentation, Emery explained how LIINC provides a platform for creation of relationships that encourage a mission-oriented entrepreneurial culture for WVU students and faculty as well as the private sector.

"The outcomes of the alliances that LIINC encourages enhance the University's contribution to economic growth in the region," she explained. "For example, during a recent event, representatives from companies like Hopewell Ventures, KeyLogic, CONSOL Energy, American Electric Power, Chesapeake Energy, First-Energy the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Aither Chemicals interacted with WVU researchers and walked away with a greater understanding of WVU capabilities and ideas for innovation."

LIINC events have highlighted work under way by researchers in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center. An upcoming showcase will feature the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.

In addition to the showcase events, LIINC provides coaching and support to researchers who have little or no prior experience sharing their work to business representatives.