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Economy and Business

CWRU innovation incubator hailed by the White House
Case Western Reserve University's "Thinkbox" highlighted at Obama administration event along with programs from MIT and Carnegie Mellon

Kevin Niedermier
In The Region:

The White House lists a Case Western Reserve University innovation development effort alongside similar ventures at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University. Case’s “Thinkbox” project was among the three highlighted this week during the Obama administration’s “National Day of Making.” The event underscored the importance of manufacturing. Dean of the Case School of Engineering, Jeffrey Duerk says “Thinkbox” gives students and others a place to bring their ideas for inventions to life.  He says the White House is impressed with the project’s scope, which goes beyond providing budding inventors with 3-D printers and other high tech tools.

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“We’ll make sure there are things like our tech transfer office, our facility and programs from our Weatherhead School of Management, facility and programs from our Case School of Law to make sure the ecosystem exists for our students and people with ideas to be in an environment in which all the additional resources and services and members of that innovation economy are bumping together in one physical location.”

Duerk says students from the Cleveland Institute of Art will also be involved to help with product design. Thinkbox started in a campus basement in 2012.  A $30 million expansion to a 7 story facility begins this fall. Duerk says about $20 million has been raised through private donations and a $1 million state grant.

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