Washington University, Saint Louis University partner to grow region’s economy

Leaders from both universities will celebrate at an event that is open to media and invited guests.

Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University launched the COLLAB, a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to harness the research and talent generation capacities of the region’s universities to accelerate innovation and growth through connection, collaboration, and commercialization.

Underscoring their shared commitment to the St. Louis region, the two universities will share space in the COLLAB, a 7,700-square-foot suite in the heart of Cortex, the region’s largest innovation district.  

Through the COLLAB, Washington University and SLU will pursue joint and separate programs that educate and train students in cybersecurity, entrepreneurship and other high-demand fields; move research discoveries into the marketplace; and build innovative partnerships with industry. The COLLAB will also support the growth of university-industry collaborations in areas of common regional interest, such as technology talent, geospatial research, data science, and health informatics.

“The McKelvey School of Engineering is dedicated to being a driving force for economic development in the St. Louis region,” Dean Aaron Bobick said. “This collaborative hub is Washington University’s first academic space in the Cortex district and, as the focal point for our cybersecurity initiative, dramatically increases McKelvey’s connection to the innovation community.

“We are excited to be partnering with Saint Louis University as the synergies between the two schools are clear and Cortex is the natural location for such collaboration.”

In the COLLAB’s shared teaching spaces, Washington University will conduct classes focused on cybersecurity, IT and engineering management. SLU’s Chaifetz School of Business will teach entrepreneurship. The COLLAB will also host collaborative courses as well as events that bring together academic, industry, civic and innovation leaders around topics of shared interest.

“This a great opportunity for two world-class research universities, working side-by-side, to mobilize our significant research and training capabilities to shape St. Louis’ future leaders, share our research discoveries, and foster new ventures,” said Ken Olliff, SLU vice president for research. “The COLLAB will be a destination for building the creative, cross-cutting collaborations which are a hallmark of St. Louis and one of our distinctive strengths.”

SLU’s Research Strategy and Innovation Group, which builds new research initiatives and facilitates partnerships with industry, entrepreneurs and investors, also will be located in COLLAB.

Other tenants in the 4220 building include CIC@4220 business incubator, the planned Boeing/HorizonX innovation center, Microsoft, Accenture, Aon, BJC’s WellAware Center, Venture Café’s Innovation Hall and “The Chocolate Pig” restaurant.

“All regional tech hubs have strong universities that provide talent, generate research, and produce technologies that launch entrepreneurial companies and advance the regional economy,” said Dennis Lower, president and CEO of the Cortex Innovation Community. “The COLLAB is a powerful innovation focal point that will bring students, researchers, entrepreneurs and corporates together to propel Cortex and the region forward.”

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