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FAMU Selected to Join APLU Inaugural Cohort for the HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative
Florida A&M University (FAMU) has been selected to join the inaugural cohort of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative (IEC).

The IEC is presented by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Office for Access and Success, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), the United State Patent and Trademark Office and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

The collaborative is a cohort of 15 HBCUs (both public and private) that are committed to participating in a multi-year alliance to foster innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship on their respective campuses. This partnership, funded by the Lemelson Foundation, will build upon the momentum established by the 2013 HBCU Innovation Summit held at Stanford University, which was co-organized by UNCF, the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) and the Stanford Center for Professional Development.

“FAMU is vitally interested in Technology Transfer, Licensing and Commercialization and we welcome this opportunity to be involved in the HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative, and to enhance our already active and dynamic intellectual property production and commercialization,” said Charles A. Weatherford, Ph.D., interim associate research VP and interim director of the Office of Technology Transfer, Licensing and Commercialization. “This is an outstanding honor to be selected from such a competitive group of applicants.”

As a participant, FAMU will have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative community seeking to increase innovation and entrepreneurship across disciplines (i.e., agriculture, business, science, mathematics, engineering and technology, etc.) in order to build an innovation network among institutions, administrators, faculty and students, the federal government and private industry. Through the cohort, HBCUs will be able to access current and future funding opportunities that will be available only to those universities that commit to participate.

Forty-four HBCU’s submitted competitive applications for the limited number of spaces in the initial cohort. Institutions were rated on the following criteria: institutional commitment, institutional capacity, federal research engagement, intellectual property engagement, faculty innovation potential and cross-disciplinary impact.

The 15 participating institutions include:
· Clark Atlanta University
· Fayetteville State University
· Florida A&M University*
· Hampton University
· Howard University
· Jackson State University*
· Morehouse College
· Morgan State University*
· North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University*
· Prairie View A&M University*
· Tuskegee University*
· University of Maryland Eastern Shore*
· University of the Virgin Islands*
· Virginia State University*
· Xavier University of Louisiana

*Denotes APLU member institutions

The institutions that were selected to participate will kick off their participation at the 2014 HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative Symposium in conjunction with OPEN 2014, the NCIIA’s 8th Annual Conference to be held in San Jose, Calif. March 21-22. Weatherford along with School of Business and Industry Professor LaTanya White, College of Agriculture and Food Science Professor Oghenekome Onokpise and senior business administration student Andre Woodard will represent FAMU.

Several partnering organizations will also be working with the initiative, including Diverse Issues in Education, HBCU Digest, Microsoft, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education and White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, among others.

In 2013, FAMU received the Innovation Award from the APLU’s 1890 Awards, a distinction given for the largest increase in successfully transferring intellectual property to new products, processes, applications, materials or services that have been successfully taken to market.
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