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NKU Awarded Grant to Launch Center for Health Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Expand Collaborative for Economic Engagement

nku Collaborative for Economic Engagement

July 19, 2022 - Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Health Innovation was recently awarded $109,618 in grant funding from the Economic Development Administration as part of a five-year project totaling $1,096,180. 

The project will include launching the NKU Center for Health Entrepreneurship and Innovation (NKU-CHEI) and expanding the NKU Collaborative for Economic Engagement, a one-stop, shared-services central innovation hub for businesses and entrepreneurs. 

The NKU-CHEI will leverage the newly funded Life Science wet lab in Covington, regional economic development agencies and entrepreneurship programs, the region’s anchor health care systems and health-related industries, and NKU’s technical expertise to advance commercialization efforts. It will also increase regional bioscience innovation and grow new medico-health-related businesses in northern Kentucky by transferring Doug Ladd, the Institute for Health Innovation’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR), to support wet lab clientele. Ladd has assisted regional medical device and health-related founders raise more than $335 MM in capital throughout the past 30 months. 

“The expansion of the Collaborative will provide the bandwidth needed to increase the impact in our region of health innovation,” Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Executive Director of the Institute of Health Innovation, said. “The grant will allow for additional support for many of the programs currently housed in the Collaborative, create new bioscience internship opportunities, fund scholarships for NKU’s on-line graduate certificates in Clinical Trial Research and Health Care Commercialization, and launch the NKU-CHEI, which will connect that bioscience and health-related entrepreneurs to the tools they need to thrive: knowledge, data, talent and capital.” 

The EDA University Center grant will allow NKU’s Institute for Health Innovation to nurture the region’s medico-health entrepreneurship ecosystem through mentoring for commercialization; targeted entrepreneurial support programs for founders skill development; applied research in economic development; and work force training in STEM, health care and entrepreneurship. 

To learn more about the NKU Institute for Health Innovation, click here.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit