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Accelerating Innovation
Business Schools Must Fuel Economic Growth

Business schools are at a crossroads of relevancy. While it is important to our mission, we can no longer settle simply for teaching undergraduate and MBA students how to be better managers and leaders. We must take a lead role in accelerating innovation and inspiring entrepreneurship toward new business development. We must act as an engine of economic prosperity in our regions and globally.

I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in a summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce that focused on the role of universities to foster a climate that promotes student and faculty innovation and entrepreneurship, actively supports university technology transfer, enables university-industry collaboration, and engages regional and local economic development efforts.

Business schools—especially those at research universities—are uniquely positioned to help develop new technologies and leading-edge solutions that benefit our society and the planet.

Our winter 2013 Innovator magazine features a special section with stories about several incubator programs and commercialization efforts here at UC Davis that we have developed in concert with our faculty’s world-leading expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Most recently, we welcomed Amy Myers Jaffe, one of the world’s preeminent energy industry experts, as our executive director of energy and sustainability. And this spring, Carl Schramm, named the “Evangelist of Entrepreneurship” by The Economist, will teach an MBA course as the first to hold our Ciocca Visiting Professorship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Our Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship continues to bring researchers from across the UC Davis campus—and nationally and internationally—to intensive academies that build the networks and paths that move promising technologies from the lab to the market.

And, last autumn, UC Davis was one of six institutions nationwide, and the only one in California, to receive a $1 million matching grant in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s 2012 i6 Challenge Grant competition to create a proof of concept center. Our newly established Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center, a partnership with the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance, will accelerate entrepreneurial thinking among researchers and businesses in the sustainable energy and agricultural fields, and develop a network of experts and financiers to support entrepreneurs and start-ups.

At the Graduate School of Management, we are mindful that promoting economic prosperity operates at two levels. First, we must provide business and management leadership to medium- and large-sized companies. Second, we must act as catalysts to help small, new ventures bring innovations to market and create new high-quality, high-paying jobs.


Steven C. Currall

Dean and Professor of Management

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