South Carolina’s SmartState Program was created by the state legislature in 2002 to establish research centers of economic excellence led by world class researchers and scientists to ignite the state’s knowledge economy, create jobs and prepare the next generation workforce. These SmartState Endowed Chairs would become the state’s intellectual fire power and reside at the state’s three research universities: Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the University of South Carolina (UofSC) within research centers of economic excellence called SmartState Centers.
South Carolina’s experiment has proved to be an overwhelming success. The research universities have recruited 75 SmartState Endowed Chairs in 51 SmartState Centers, representing six industry clusters (advanced materials, automotive and transportation, biomedical, energy, information science, and pharmaceutical. The Endowed Chairs have been instrumental in attracting research funding, students and industry to the Palmetto State.
In September, Laura B. Cardinal, PhD, the SmartState Endowed Chair and Director of the SmartState Center for Innovation + Commercialization, hosted a luncheon at the UofSC Darla Moore School of Business for the SmartState Council of Chairs. A large group gathered in Columbia and was joined by an original SmartState Program visionary, Samuel Tenenbaum, to discuss the program’s progress and brainstorm on its future.
Said Cardinal, “Anytime you get a large group of individuals who are not only passionate about their personal research, but also committed to the greater success of South Carolina, you are guaranteed of high-powered brainstorming. Everyone who attended contributed to the discussion and it was exciting for all of us to see the excitement the SmartState Program generates.”
The next SmartState Council of Chairs luncheon is scheduled for February 2019 at Clemson’s automotive research campus, CU-ICAR.