The EDA University Center program is housed in the University of Tennessee University Center (UTUC) and has been operated by the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services since 2006. The UTUC leverages the outreach resources, research and technology assets of the statewide University of Tennessee system and those of key centers of innovation in the state to enhance regional innovation ecosystems and economic growth across Tennessee, with a focus in the following areas:
- Regional Commercialization Efforts (10%)
- Advancing High-Growth Entrepreneurship (30%)
- Cultivating Innovation (30%)
- Business Expansion in Regional Innovation Clusters (30%)
The strength and depth of the resources at these institutions and other research centers across the state, combined with the state’s regional organizational infrastructure, present a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation within the state’s regional economic ecosystems.
With offices and staff across Tennessee, UTCIS leverages the resources of the University of Tennessee system and its innovation partners to support state and regional strategies for economic development.
Strategic Alignment and Partnerships
The focus and activities of the UTUC align with the economic development strategies of the State of Tennessee, the state’s nine Development Districts, and other key regional economic development initiatives. Central to these strategies is the understanding that each region possesses unique assets that should be leveraged for the creation of high-quality jobs, and that regions must develop an effective economic ecosystem that focuses resources to maximize their economic development potential.
Additionally, these strategies support growth of key industrial sectors in the state, including automotive, advanced composites, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing, and include strategies for developing regional capacity to support these efforts. Through strategic partnerships, the UTUC links the technology assets and expertise of the University of Tennessee to communities and businesses to support regional strategies and address gaps in the regional economic ecosystems.
UTCIS operates NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and DOD’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which together generated over $1 billion in economic impact in the state in 2016. EDA’s investment in the UTUC will leverage over $5 million in programmatic support from UTCIS through its operation of MEP, PTAC, and other services.
The UTUC also leverages several other significant federal and state investments ongoing in the state, including two Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership (IMCP) designations and the IACMI Manufacturing USA institute, led by UT and ORNL. The UTUC engages with 18 other state and regional agencies in implementing recommendations of the Governor’s Rural Task Force, which focuses resources on needs of Tennessee’s rural communities to improve their economic competitiveness.
University of Tennessee EDA University Center Service Region