By Henry Mortimer, Editor-at-Large
What do Baltimore and the University of Maryland, College Park, have in common, in terms of fostering innovation and economic development?
If you said, the founders of Under Armour and high-tech manufacturer Pixiligent, you’d only be partially correct. At least according to Brian Darmody, Associate Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of Maryland.
“Maryland has great assets that sometimes I think our own business leaders aren’t aware of,” says Darmody. “The University pf Maryland, College Park, isn’t physically in the Baltimore region, but we have a lot of ties to the region.”
Those ties include a satellite campus of the Robert H. Smith School of Business located in the UMB BioPark, and the joint Center for Economic Development at Morgan State. New efforts to further integrate its Baltimore and College Park campuses include the new Sports Medicine and Innovation Lab, which will move the orthopedics department from downtown Baltimore to newly renovated Cole Field House, and the UM Ventures program, designed to encourage more start-ups to emerge from the $1 billion in combined research that comes out of both campuses.
“We are trying to aggregate our resources in strategic ways … to programmatically help serve both regions,” says Darmody, who describes his role as helping “to make the way we work with corporations easier.”
One asset in the university’s favor is being a founding member of the newly formed Maryland Tech Council, which Darmody says provides “a statewide voice for technology.” A perk of membership includes the ability find opportunities for the university to work with corporations and others to drive research and innovation. For example, says Darmody, “we’ve created a master research agreement with Lockheed Martin so that we are not constantly negotiating intellectual property, milestones or whatever.”
And in terms of economic development, College Park, which Darmody says produces the largest number of STEM degrees in the region, is leading the way. In fact, he points out that a recent survey of corporate recruiters said Maryland was one of the 10 universities identified as producing “the right kinds of students.”
“We have a great impact on the Baltimore region,” he says. “From a workforce perspective, it’s important to think about the University of Maryland.”
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