As our transportation system becomes more reliant on private-sector innovation, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) and the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University are combining forces in a new partnership.
The partnership was announced May 9 at the Texas A&M Transportation Technology Conference by TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree and Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones. It is the first partnership of its kind for both TTI and Mays, since it marries the entrepreneurial-focused educational and experiential opportunities offered by the McFerrin Center with the deep transportation research expertise at TTI.
“We have the unique opportunity to help advance the discussion, create new knowledge and bridge some of the gaps between the public and private sectors,” Winfree said in announcing the partnership, called the “Innovation Hub @ TTI.” “The Innovation Hub is designed to provide seed funding, to develop forward-thinking transportation-research ideas at TTI and to facilitate the incubation and commercialization of these ideas into vital products and services with the help of the McFerrin Center.”
The Innovation Hub @ TTI will function as a catalyst for interdisciplinary research and innovation in emerging transportation solutions and will include the involvement of TTI researchers, Texas A&M students, private-sector partners and the broader transportation community.
“TTI’s researchers are a shining example of transportation thought leaders, and we are pleased to partner with TTI on this new venture,” said Blake Petty, McFerrin Center director. “We envision the Innovation Hub @ TTI will make a significant impact on how we innovate and translate next-generation transportation technologies to the marketplace. We also see the partnership as a prototype for problem-solving innovation and entrepreneurship training across the Texas A&M System.”
Leading the initiative for TTI, Senior Research Fellow Ginger Goodin says the Innovation Hub @ TTI represents a paradigm shift in how the Institute approaches transportation problems and formulates solutions. “As a public transportation research agency, it is becoming increasingly important for us to engage more deliberately with the private sector. The McFerrin Center offers TTI expertise in facilitating industrial partnerships and identifying marketplace needs to help us grow our private-sector relationships.”