A small slice of the Buckeye pie

The Ohio State University is a huge part of Columbus’ identity. It’s hard to think of one without the other. Whether you’re an alumni or not, OSU impacts the lives of nearly every Columbus resident one way or another.

Size and scope

When I decided to do a themed issue on OSU, its size, diversity and reach made it hard to determine a topic.

I grappled with this, before settling on looking at how OSU’s research gets into the hands of industry and what the university has done, and continues to do, to improve industry-sponsored research and commercialization efforts. And even in this area, OSU’s size and diversity play an important role in understanding the relationship between academia and business.

Prior to this story, I’d never really thought about how de-centralized the university is. More than one person that I interviewed thinks of OSU as separate organizations that share the same logo.

Calling experienced entrepreneurs

Another point struck me when I talked to people about the increase in OSU spinouts. I’ve heard about the need for more startup capital in not only Columbus but also other Midwest cities. What I hadn’t heard before was that there’s a need for more founders.

OSU has put attention on spinning out its research and technologies into new companies, but those companies need people to shepherd that along. Most professors don’t leave to run startups, so you must have entrepreneurs with the right technical skills and background to do that. Some students have stepped up, but a first-time entrepreneur in his or her 20s will likely hit more than a few bumps.

We don’t have the same talent pool as the West coast, but I was told there are more entrepreneurs than there used to be. The challenge is whether that increase matches the need, especially as OSU’s spinouts continue to ramp up.

 

I hope you enjoy this look at a small slice of Ohio State — including a Uniquely Columbus on everyone’s favorite mascot, Brutus — and that a few points of new information will strike you as interesting, just like it did for me.