University of Washington President Michael Young has announced a three-part initiative focused on “Ideas to Impact,” or “i2i.” The key components from President Young’s communication are:
- Drive our economic future. Our first area of focus is on accelerating our research commercialization efforts. Overall, more than 260 companies have been founded based on UW research. But we think we can do even better. In fact, we plan to double the number of new start-ups created from UW research—from an average of 10 a year to 20—within the next three years. To be sure, that’s a big, audacious goal, but we’re confident that we have the talent and the plan to reach—or maybe even surpass—it. Our team in the UW Center for Commercialization has developed a suite of innovative programs to better help move discoveries from our labs to the marketplace. We’re building on this base by re-purposing existing space on campus to what we are calling our “New Ventures Facility.” The recent opening of this new-business incubator signals our commitment to strengthening entrepreneurship at the UW.
- Use our global reach for local results. Many of our external and internal community stakeholders have identified challenges they want to see the UW address: Education, the environment and health, just to name a few. The UW’s historical strengths in multi-disciplinary, problem-solving research make us particularly well-suited to take on just these kinds of issues. With the brainpower of our faculty and students at the UW and our state’s business and community leaders, there’s no reason that we can’t find new solutions to the critical societal challenges of our time, thereby creating the greatest impact here in our local communities and around the world.
- Reimagine higher education. As we look at all the ways we can have a valuable impact, we are not going to neglect to hold a mirror up to ourselves. With all the current pressures facing higher education, public universities are simply going to look different in the coming years. I truly believe the UW can lead this effort by finding new ways to utilize technology, continuing to make our internal business processes more efficient and ensuring that families from all economic backgrounds can send their children to college.