Universities as Incubators


WBUR’s Adam Frank picked up the story: “Like many winter days here in upstate New York, it’s cold and gray in Rochester. But today feels darker than usual because when we woke up this morning, we learned that Eastman Kodak was filing for bankruptcy.” Frank goes on to be the optimist: Rochester will be okay; the University of Rochester is doing great things, not the least of which is providing the city with jobs. UR has become a center of medical and technological innovation. It has a Center for Entrepreneurship and announced this fall it would begin an Incubator Program.

incubator cartoon

So goes the story in other cities around the US (and world?), claims Frank. Others are backing him up. Eric Eldon of TechCrunch notes a very recent story from New York City, where Cornell will be launching a tech center (“NYCTech”) on Roosevelt Island in partnership with the City. “The goal of the campus is to further develop New York City as a key destination for technical talent, in the hopes of building a university-oriented innovation eco-system along the lines of what Stanford and Berkeley have in Silicon Valley, and what MIT has in Cambridge.” Other writers note similar stories in California, Massachusetts, New York, and Georgia.

These university-cities are becoming start-ups in their own right. As centers of knowledge, learning, and job creation, access to higher education will become ever more important. Or at least proximity to it.

-          Terra Curtis

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