by Stephen J. Kopp, Ph.D.
President, Marshall University

Photo of Marshall President Stephen J. KoppFashioning an interdisciplinary research institute unlike any other in the region, we believed we could enable commercially relevant bioscience activity by affording companies the opportunity to develop and mature promising new technologies and products in the university environment. In establishing the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, we envisioned an innovative model that would create knowledge, jobs, business opportunities and tax revenue for West Virginia and the entire region.

The institute would represent a significant departure from conventional university research approaches. Its charter would be a self-sustaining model that creates economic benefits like a successful business. Research scientists would be appointed exclusively through performance-based contracts within the institute and not in traditional academic departments.

In addition, the institute’s scientists would be responsible for involving undergraduate and graduate students actively in biotechnology research, with the goal of preparing the next generation of entrepreneurial researchers who will contribute to economic growth in our communities.

We wanted to create a catalyst that would nurture an earning and entrepreneurial culture. We also needed to intensify and accelerate the rate at which research done at Marshall University reaches the marketplace.

Just a few years after this visioning process, we are pleased to have made significant progress toward our goals. The institute is off to a fine start.

We are witnessing the results of our strategic commitment to hiring the brightest, most talented researchers we can find.

The institute is assembling a stellar team of scientists and research associates, and together they are developing a focused program of pioneering biotechnology research dedicated to producing patentable scientific breakthroughs and creating new high-tech businesses based on those discoveries.

Research at the institute is being directed with licensable endpoints in mind and corporate partners play important roles in selecting and developing projects that have commercial potential.

I could not be more pleased with the progress we have made, which has put us firmly on the pathway to new and even bigger opportunities. Confident in our vision for the institute and energized about the possibilities ahead of us, we will continue to move forward aggressively.

It is indeed an exciting time to be at Marshall University!