Commercialization and Economic Development

Innovation is the key to economic growth and research is the key to innovation. Kent State is building on its strong foundation of ground-breaking research - research with the potential to solve problems and spark economic development. The university has earned national attention for faculty, staff and student innovations in learning technologies, liquid-crystal materials, biomedicine and many other 21st-century fields.  To date, 13 innovative start-up companies, for the most part in Northeast Ohio, are translating our research discoveries into new products and services and many established companies have licensed our research and technology to further their product development goals. As a result, the university’s research endeavors are responsible for driving substantial job growth in the region.

For example, Kent State is home to the Glenn H. Brown Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI), the world’s leading academic center for liquid crystal research. Its landmark research and education helped define the multi-billion dollar liquid-crystal display industry, particularly the development of flexible liquid-crystal displays — the very first of which was produced at Kent State. 

Today, it is estimated that more than 1,000 jobs related to liquid crystal displays and devices have been created in Ohio. LCI research is now focused on new frontiers in biologically relevant liquid crystals. A recent $15 million award by the state of Ohio’s Third Frontier Project is funding a public-private initiative of universities and enterprises named the Research Cluster on Surfaces in Advanced Materials. 

Further, the Kent State approach has led to the establishment of the FLEXMatters Initiative, a broad, public-private high-technology collaboration with Kent State, NorTech, the Fund for Our Economic Future, Team NEO, the University of Akron and others, to build an industrial cluster in Ohio. FlexMatters was designed to produce a new generation of advanced materials and promote regional economic development. The university has also recently established bioFLEX and flexPV, organizations devoted to the creation of flexible materials consortia in Northeast Ohio.

In addition to the university’s translation of research into the marketplace through start-up companies and licensing to established companies, Kent State University has also created the Centennial Research Park adjacent to the Kent campus. The park provides space and support for specialized companies to thrive and grow near the university and its other partners. The 41,000-square-foot research park houses two high-tech start-up companies that have their roots in liquid crystal research activities launched at Kent State.

We invite you to explore the many ways that Kent State research is sparking innovation and creating economic development for region.  To learn about specific technologies available for licensing from Kent State University, visit the Office of Corporate Engagement and Commercialization home page.

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