By Silas Allen
Copyright © 2013, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
NORMAN — A University of Oklahoma program designed to partner university expertise with private industry is broadening its scope on campus.
The university’s Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth is opening a new location at OU’s Research Campus that officials say will allow for collaboration among students, university researchers and members of the Norman and Oklahoma City business communities.
The center was established in 2006 with the goal of fostering technology-based business ventures. Although the center has been located on the university’s Research Campus for several years, the new location represents an expansion in terms of physical space and the programs the center is able to offer, said Jeff Moore, executive director.
The new location will allow the center to offer professional development seminars on topics such as web design for nonprogrammers and communication for executives. The location will include work space for students, researchers and business owners to work together on projects.
Moore said he hopes to see the center become a hub for interaction among members of the community, Research Campus tenants and university students and faculty. He said he expects the new location will attract more business owners from around Norman and the Oklahoma City area — “not just our usual suspects.”
Daniel Pullin, OU’s vice president for strategic planning and economic development, said the new location also will benefit OU students, who will have a space to work with industry partners and faculty members.
As new technology is developed, Pullin said, it’s becoming more common for students to develop marketable inventions of their own, such as smartphone apps. Technology has eliminated steps such as marketing, packaging and shipping that previous generations of entrepreneurs had to contend with, he said, meaning students can develop an app and have it marketed in a matter of weeks.
Creating a space for private industry, government agencies and academia to work together is a powerful economic driver, Pullin said, because each party benefits from the perspective and expertise of the others.