State-Coordinated Innovation Ecosystems

States can foster innovation partnerships to increase investment in advanced energy sectors. For example, Ohio’s Federal Research Network has strengthened the coordination among local research institutions to attract research and development funding. Other states could adapt this model to help spur the innovation ecosystem.

Recognizing the importance of coordination within and across sectors, the state of Ohio funded the Ohio Federal Research Network in July 2015. Wright State Applied Research Corporation will receive $20 million over the course of two years and Ohio State University will receive $5 million to establish collaboration between the state’s research universities, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, NASA Glenn Research Center, and the private sector. Approximately half of the total funding will be used to create a model of how the research network will run.

The Ohio Federal Research Network’s goal is to acquire $300 million in new federal research contracts for Ohio-based companies in the next five years. Estimates show that this funding will result in 2,500 new jobs, $250 million in private sector investment, and the creation or expansion of 100 companies.

States can take advantage of the Department of Commerce’s Regional Innovation Strategies program grants to fund these efforts. Managed by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) approximately $8 million in funds is available to “advance innovation and capacity-building activities” through i6 Challenge grants, cluster grants for seed capital funds, and research park development grants.