When the University of South Carolina’s Office of Economic Engagement (OEE) first launched six years ago, its goal was to build relationships between researchers and industry partners. True to its mandate, the university has forged ties with global industry giants and is driving hundreds of millions of dollars into the state’s economy.
The OEE, with its corporate and government partners, has created over $790 million in indirect economic impact since its founding in 2013, using a standard economic development analysis that examines both direct and indirect economic benefits generated through the office. The figure includes ongoing industry partner investments along with grant generation, software gifts, and new job creation.
“Thanks to the vision of President Harris Pastides, OEE has had a swift economic impact on our state,” said University of South Carolina president Robert Caslen. “We look forward to building more research partnership opportunities, and providing our students with the skills and expertise needed for success in high-tech careers.”
The OEE serves as the convergence point for private industry, government and the university. In addition to connecting industry partners with the university’s intellectual capital, it also leads technology commercialization efforts, fosters entrepreneurship and start-ups, supports research centers, and grows existing collaborations.
“The tremendous success we’ve had in such a short period of time is a testament to the quality of research taking place here at the University of South Carolina,” said OEE Executive Director Bill Kirkland. “We are in the top one percent of patent-producing universities in the world, and innovative industry leaders know that South Carolina is the place to be.”
Ongoing research partnerships include a wide range of companies and federal agencies, from advanced computing, aerospace and automotive, to health care. They include: IBM, Boeing, NASA, Samsung, Siemens, Yaskawa, Capgemini, Prisma Health, Nephron, TIGHITCO and more.
OEE supported research centers include:
Three labs located at the McNAIR Aerospace Research Center on Catawba Street:
The IBM IOT Industrial Innovation Center (2018). The only university based IBM lab of its kind in North America, the lab uses cloud data to develop new technolgoies to help American manfacturers improve their operations.
The Digital Transformation Lab (2018). The 15,000 square-foot lab serves as a research showplace where projects with an array of real-world industrial and consumer applications are on display—from robotics, visual inspection, and autonomous drones to smart home appliances.
The Center for Predictive Maintenance. Researchers and students from four university departments support the U.S. Army Aviation program Using cloud-based technology and machine learning, researchers and students use the technology to conduct detailed analyses, identify potential defects or problems, and recommend specific solutions to improve maintenance for combat helicopters.
Siemens Healthineers Innovation Think Tank (ITT) Lab (2019). The ITT Lab is the first of its kind affiliated with a U.S. university. The lab will be an innovation hub where participants including researchers, faculty members, and students can think outside the box to solve issues in healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, and information technology alongside industry innovation leaders.
The AI Institute (2019). The new institute advances state-of-the-art AI applications in fields like health care, education, social sciences, communications, advanced manufacturing, autonomous transportation, and personalized security, while also examining the ethics and societal impact of advancing technologies.