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Innovation Exchange Networks

Since their initial development in the late 1990s, expert web portals have been an evolving tool for universities, systems of higher education, and economic development organizations. The web portals are searchable, web-based databases of university scholars and researchers that feature, at a minimum, information on their expertise, innovation products and publications. Many of the portals are growing to include information on universities’ physical assets and equipment, regional strengths, and additional services such as networking and analytical tools for research.

The "Best Practices of Creating Innovation Exchange Web Portals Across the States" report is a summary of the results of a study assessing best practices and challenges facing existing web portals created to promote university resources to a broader audience. It intends to inform interested parties in Ohio about the ecosystems that surround existing web portals in other states. The report analyzes ecologies of existing web portals in other states, addresses the role of “super users” (i.e. organizations that can reach industry users, such as economic development agencies) play in enhancing the successful utilization of a web portal, and considers sustainable funding and training mechanisms surrounding existing web portals.

A detailed description of seven web portals is offered: Florida ExpertNet, Michigan MCRN, New York FuzeHub, North Carolina ReachNC, Texas InFluuent, Arizona Experts, and University of California’s Technology Transfer. The report concludes with recommendations for developing Innovation Exchange Hub in Ohio and Appendices detailing the literature review.

This study was conducted by Iryna Lendel, associate director, and associate researchers at the Center for Economic Development at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. The research was funded by the Ohio Manufacturing Institute of Ohio State University through an Ohio Development Services Agency grant and with input from the Ohio Department of Higher Education Ohio Innovation Exchange industry engagement team. 

The Ohio Innovation Exchange is a data-driven network designed to connect industry needs to university resources. To access the beta release with 8,250 faculty profiles and 200 resources from the four pilot universities, please go to

The full report is available by clicking here or by downloading here.