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Tennessee State University to lead business-academe consortium
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Dr. Evelyn Thompson

A source says Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and other Nashville businesses and institutions are forming a Capital City Research Consortium.

TSU Vice President for Sponsored Research Evelyn M. Thompson, Ph.D., told VNC this morning the new alliance to promote and advance research and technology transfer will soon have its first formal meeting, and that she believes attendees will include representatives of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, among others.

Shortly before noon today, a spokesperson for Vanderbilt and its Medical Center said the university is aware of the bill and is reviewing it. This story will be updated, as warranted.

Thompson said the name of the consortium is intended to reflect the city's role as a "hub" of Tennessee science, research, business and governance.

The initiative is being given added impetus by a proposal in the General Assembly would authorize Tennessee State University to form and lead a consortium of business and academic leaders in Nashville.

The legislative proposal, submitted Thursday without details as a "caption bill" to meet a Senate deadline for filing, suggests Nashville's iniatiative is a page lifted from the playbook of the Memphis community. Thompson said the impetus for the bill introduced by Kyle came from her office.

Memphis State Sen. Jim Kyle on Thursday introduced Senate Bill 3879, which "authorizes Tennessee State University to establish and lead a research consortium of leading research and business entities in Nashville; and requires the university to report progress toward developing the consortium to the standing committees on education by February 1, 2012."

When Gov. Phil Bredesen's initial push to increase the University of Tennessee's stature among U.S. research universities made no mention of the University of Memphis, Memphians rallied to create a Memphis Research Consortium.

Now, the Memphis Consortium and its allies are likely to push for inclusion in any state research-focused initiatives, during the current session of the General Assembly.

The Memphis group's formative document indicates members include: University of Memphis, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis BioWorks Foundation, FedEx Corporation, Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, Medtronic Sofamore Danek, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System, Smith & Nephew, and Wright Medical Technology, and possibly others.

In related activity: TSU will on March 15-19 convene its 32nd annual university-wide research symposium for its faculty and students.

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Tags: Capital City Research Consortium, commercialization, economic development, Evelyn Thompson, inclusion, intellectual property, Memphis Research Consortium, research and development, sponsored research, technology transfer, Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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