Mississippi Public Universities support economic development efforts through institutes, centers
Thu, 05/07/2020 - 13:45pm | By: Caron Blanton
Mississippi Public Universities support economic development efforts across the state through a variety of programs and services. Many of these programs and services are provided through the Institutes and Centers housed on the university campuses. Mississippi Economic Development Week provides an opportunity to shine a light on the work of a few of them.
The Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship at The University of Southern Mississippi serves as the catalyst for a university-wide focus on economic development training and research serving public entities, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals.
The Center provides client-requested assistance and offers expertise in strategic planning and leadership development; education and training; community analysis and research; and other technical support. The Trent Lott National Center is driven by passion, determination and commitment to be a leading force in advancing global competitiveness through knowledge-led economic development.
The Center works with public entities, nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals to plan and implement activities designed to generate jobs and income using data-driven economic development.
The need for effective medical tests, treatments and vaccines has come to the forefront during the coronavirus pandemic. The research and trials necessary to bring those to a local pharmacy is a long and complicated process. The University of Mississippi’s Pii Center for Pharmaceutical Technology conducts interdisciplinary drug/polymer research that provides end-stage pharmaceutical products directed at therapeutic conditions, vaccines, antidotes and wound care. Utilizing cutting edge thermal processing, the Pii Center collaborates with private industry, government and academia to develop new, improved and expanded drug delivery systems.
The Pii Center interfaces with the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and is housed under the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery and the Pii Center perform a wide range of formulation development activities to facilitate commercialization of pre-approved active pharmaceutical ingredients, new molecular entities, drug products and inactive ingredients.
Helping entrepreneurs take an idea from concept to flourishing business is the focus of Mississippi State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach. The Center helps students, faculty and community members start and grow successful companies. The Center helps entrepreneurs link with alumni, learn tactical business skills and launch companies that will help define tomorrow’s markets. The university understands entrepreneurs change the world and embraces its role as a major contributor to the economic development of the state through targeted research and the transfer of ideas and technology to the public.
The Center’s programs include VentureCatalyst, Non-Student Programs, and the NSF I-Corp Site program. VentureCatalyst is a comprehensive, co-curricular program for MSU’s students and faculty who are interested in starting a successful, investor-backed company. The Non-Student Programs help any business — large or small — in the state of Mississippi. The National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Site program provides training to learn the fundamentals of building business models and is open to all students, faculty, researchers and staff at the university.
Delta State University’s College of Business and Aviation assists economic development efforts in the Delta through its Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Research (CBER). In 2019, CBER presented workshops and presentations to potential and existing entrepreneurs and educators on job creation, workforce development, cost benefit analysis, the role of youth entrepreneurship in economic development, and workforce development for special needs students.
In June and July 2019, CBER conducted a Summer Youth Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with Delta Health Alliance.
The coronavirus pandemic has also brought to light the importance of farmers, ranchers and the food supply many Mississippians depend upon. Universities play an important role in supporting the agribusiness sector. The Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University specializes in policy research impacting socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
Through collaboration with universities and organizations inside and outside the land grant community, Alcorn State University leverages its employees’ expertise and increases personnel capacity with contractual partnerships with other universities and agencies. The mission of the Policy Research Center is to make policy recommendations that will improve the success of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and support them through research, stakeholder engagement, and outreach.
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.