Collaborative Innovation

Vanderbilt assumes leadership of NSF Mid-South Innovation Corps Hub


Participants from around the region gathered at Vanderbilt in February 2023 for the formal initiation of the National Science Foundation Mid-South Innovation Corps Hub. The two-day summit included a convocation, a venture showcase and a reception for hub partners and regional dignitaries.

Vanderbilt is leading the hub, which plans to focus on inclusive and collaborative innovation. Its goals are to help the outcomes of groundbreaking university research translate more quickly into the commercial marketplace and to foster a prosperous ecosystem for innovation across the Midsouth.

Spanning four states, the hub includes participants from Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, Jackson State University, George Mason University, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University, University of Louisville, University of Tennessee, Knoxville and University of Kentucky.

Convocation speakers included Padma Raghavan, vice provost for research and innovation; Charleson Bell, NSF I-Corps Hub director and director of entrepreneurship and biomedical innovation at the Wond’ry; Deanna Meador, hub lead instructor and Wond’ry deputy director; and David Owens, Wond’ry executive director and hub lead faculty.

The Venture summit displayed deep technologies developed by hub participants—examples ranged from medical tech, AI-based solutions and energy technologies to beauty products, jewelry and sustainable agriculture products. The convocation included a “Provision of the Heirlooms” processional featuring 3D-printed objects that represent intrinsic values of each participating institution. These objects were produced in honor of the first time these institutions have come together in the shared vision of inclusive prosperity across the region.

The summit was hosted by The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center, the Vanderbilt Innovation Council and several student organizations, including the Vanderbilt Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society, Change++, Vandy Blockchain and Theta Tau. Attendees included chancellors and vice provosts at hub universities and policymakers and community leaders from across Tennessee, including Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Bradley Jackson, president and CEO of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and representatives from the office of U.S. Rep. Mark Green (TN-7th District).

Learn more about the Mid-South Innovation Corps Hub here.

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